First Look at Crystal Shapes
This is a short and simple exercise requiring students to examine and compare different crystal shapes.
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 9th of 36 mineralogy exercises and is used towards the beginning of the course.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- Think about ways to describe and classify crystal shapes.
- Contemplate the significance of crystal shape.
Other skills goals for this activity
Description of the activity/assignment
This is a short and simple exercise requiring students to examine and compare different crystal shapes. Cardboard models and wooden blocks are used as ideal representations of real crystals. Students examine the representations and determine what shape properties they have in common. They then discuss what it means if crystals of different minerals share some shape properties.