Teach the Earth > Mineralogy > Teaching Activities > Point Groups

Point Groups

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 exercise involves identifying symmetry in crystals and using that information to assign crystals to crystal systems and point groups.

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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 26th of 36 mineralogy exercises and is used towards the end of the course.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

  • Become familiar with the crystal systems and the 32 point groups.
  • Be able to assign crystals to the correct crystal systems and point groups.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

  • Learn identification, analysis, and application of abstract properties (symmetry) useful for mineral identifictation.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

This exercise involves identifying symmetry in crystals and using that information to assign crystals to crystal systems and point groups. Students examine cardboard models and wooden blocks and fill their symmetry elements into a table. Then they figure out what what crystal system and point group each sample belongs to and fill in another table.

Determining whether students have met the goals

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Supporting references/URLs

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