Cutting Edge > Mineralogy > Teaching Activities > Exercises With Mineral Names, Literature and History

Exercises With Mineral Names, Literature and History

Francis Dudas
,
Old Dominion University
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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: May 9, 2008

Summary

This activity is a series of exercises I assign outside of class time, with the purpose of getting students to explore the literature resources that are available for mineralogy. The inspiration for the exercises comes from my exasperation with the repeated questions: "Why do we have to know so many minerals?" and "What about these minerals do we have to know?" Rather than saying "Everything that is important," I hope to show students that what they need to know depends on what questions they hope to answer, and that mineralogy developed in historical context, parallel with other sciences.

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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

The exercises are designed to stretch over several weeks. I begin the first exercise on the first day of class, and give one assignment per week, but the timing of assignments is flexible. Though the assignments can be incorporated, at the end, into a term paper or research report, I find the separate assignments to work better than the assignment of a single term paper at the outset. This activity 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 helps students learn about why a mineral has its particular name and why mineralogy is important.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

This activity aids in a student's ability to research using the WWW and the library and to write up a report about their findings.

Description of the activity/assignment

This is a series of 5 assignments I assign outside of class time, with the purpose of getting students to explore the literature resources that are available for mineralogy. The inspiration for the exercises comes from my exasperation with the repeated questions: "Why do we have to know so many minerals?" and "What about these minerals do we have to know?" Rather than saying "Everything that is important," I hope to show students that what they need to know depends on what questions they hope to answer, and that mineralogy developed in historical context, parallel with other sciences.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students have met the goals of this assignment if they turn in a complete, well-research essay for each assignment.

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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