Cutting Edge > Mineralogy > Teaching Activities > Heat Capacity of Minerals: A Hands-On Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics

Heat Capacity of Minerals: A Hands-On Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics

David G. Bailey
,
Hamilton College
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This activity was peer reviewed prior to publication in the Teaching Mineralogy Workbook.

This teaching activity was originally published in: Brady, J., Mogk, D. W., and Perkins, D., (editors), 1997, "Teaching Mineralogy," a workbook published by the Mineralogical Society of America, 406 pp. All teaching activities in this volume received two external peer reviews from mineralogy faculty focused on content and pedagogy, and a final review by the co-editors to comply with the publication standards of the Mineralogical Society of America.



This page first made public: May 9, 2008

Summary

Minerals are inorganic chemical compounds with a wide range of physical and chemical properties. Geologists frequently measure and observe properties such as hardness, specific gravity, color, etc. Unfortunately, students usually view these properties simply as tools for identifying unknown mineral specimens. One of the objectives of this exercise is to make students aware of the fact that minerals have many additional properties that can be measured, and that all of the physical and chemical properties of minerals have important applications beyond that of simple mineral identification.

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Context

Audience

This activity is designed for an undergraduate required course in mineralogy and is generally for sophomore or junior level students.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity is a stand-alone exercise, but is part of a larger volume of classroom and laboratory activities from "Teaching Mineralogy," a workbook published by the Mineralogical Society of America, Brady, J., Mogk, D. W., and Perkins, D., (editors), 1997,406 pp.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

This activity is designed to prepare students for upper level courses by:

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Understanding thermodynamics and analyzing and presenting data

Other skills goals for this activity

Working in groups

Description of the activity/assignment

Minerals are inorganic chemical compounds with a wide range of physical and chemical properties. Geologists frequently measure and observe properties such as hardness, specific gravity, color, etc. Unfortunately, students usually view these properties simply as tools for identifying unknown mineral specimens. One of the objectives of this exercise is to make students aware of the fact that minerals have many additional properties that can be measured, and that all of the physical and chemical properties of minerals have important applications beyond that of simple mineral identification.

Please do not let the title of this exercise scare you away. Introducing students to thermodynamics is not the primary objective. Getting students to "do" science - to observe, record, and interpret experimental data - is the primary goal. Heat capacity just happens to be a good vehicle for this purpose.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students have met the goals of this exercise if they have answered the thought questions completely and accurately thereby demonstrating that they are able to analyze and interpret the data they collect.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Brady, J., Mogk, D. W., and Perkins, D., (editors), 1997, Teaching Mineralogy, a workbook published by the Mineralogical Society of America, 406 pp.

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