Cutting Edge > Courses > Mineralogy > Teaching Activities > Symmetry

Symmetry

Dexter Perkins
,
University of North Dakota
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the 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 page first made public: Aug 7, 2006

Summary

This is an introduction to the basic symmetry elements.

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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 23rd of 36 mineralogy exercises and is used towards the end of the course.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

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Description of the activity/assignment

This is an introduction to basic symmetry elements. Students make drawings that show good examples of rotation axes and mirror planes and inversion centers with and without a 2-fold axis. They describe real objects a mirror plane, an inversion center, and 2, 3, 4, and 6-fold axes in 3D. They think about symmetry in atomic structures and indicate which symmetry elements are present in ball and stick models of minerals. Then they count the different kinds of symmetry elements present in wooden blocks and real minerals.

Determining whether students have met the goals

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