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Crystallizing Minerals from Aqueous Solutions

Dexter Perkins
,
University of North Dakota
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Summary

Students dissolve selected salts and other compounds in water, let the water evaporate, and examine the crystals that grow.

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Context

Audience

This exercise is designed for a mid/upper-level undergraduate geology course on the principles of mineralogy.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have knowledge of basic chemistry and of minerals equivalent to what they would learn in an introductory geology class.

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity is the 7th of 36 mineralogy exercises and is used towards the beginning of the course.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Students dissolve selected salts and other compounds in water, let the water evaporate for about three weeks, and examine the crystals that grow. Students then draw crystal shapes and discuss the experiment. Discussion can include why and how crystals grow from solutions, why some minerals dissolve well and others do not, concepts of symmetry, and crystal systems and point groups.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Hold a class discussion based on this experiment.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

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