Teach the Earth > Mineralogy > Teaching Activities > Phase Diagrams

Phase Diagrams

Joseph Smyth
University of Colorado at Boulder
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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: Jul 8, 2009


Students are given a simplified temperature-composition phase diagram for the system enstatite (Mg2Si2O6) - diopside (CaMgSi2O6), and asked to interpret it by answering a series of questions.

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This problem set is designed for an undergraduate course in mineralogy for majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have a general understanding of phase diagrams and how to interpret them.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand-alone exercise used as a homework assignment.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

This problem set is designed to help students understand and interpret phase diagrams

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

This problem set challenges students to interpret a simplified temperature-composition phase diagram for the system enstatite (Mg2Si2O6) - diopside (CaMgSi2O6), which are common constituents of peridotites, gabbros, and basalts. Students are provided with the phase diagram and asked to answer 13 questions about it.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students have successfully met the goals of the assignment if they answer the problem set thoroughly and accurately.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Supporting references/URLs

This problem set is the 10th of 10 homework assignments used in a Mineralogy course.
You can also access the course syllabus which includes lecture Powerpoints, practice exams, and links to the other problem sets used in this course.

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