Cutting Edge > Mineralogy > Teaching Activities > Growing Crystals on a Microscope Stage

Growing Crystals on a Microscope Stage

Paul Sorensen and Dexter Perkins
,
University of North Dakota

This activity was peer reviewed prior to publication in the Teaching Mineralogy Workbook.

This teaching activity was originally published in: Brady, J., Mogk, D. W., and Perkins, D., (editors), 1997, "Teaching Mineralogy," a workbook published by the Mineralogical Society of America, 406 pp. All teaching activities in this volume received two external peer reviews from mineralogy faculty focused on content and pedagogy, and a final review by the co-editors to comply with the publication standards of the Mineralogical Society of America.



This page first made public: May 9, 2008

Summary

Many compounds crystallize rapidly from evaporating solutions, and many can be crystallized from melts. Because of this, it is possible to do simple crystallization experiments and to watch crystals grow over short times. Students can study several different compounds during one lab period. Crystal habit, growth zones, nucleation, deformation textures--students can examine many things quickly and easily.

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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

Students should be familiar with general mineralogy and the use of a microscope.

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity is a stand-alone exercise, but 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 uses simple crystallization experiments to watch crystals grow over short times. Students can study several different compounds during one lab period, including crystal habit, growth zones, nucleation, deformation textures.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Many compounds crystallize rapidly from evaporating solutions, and many can be crystallized from melts. Because of this, it is possible to do simple crystallization experiments and to watch crystals grow over short times. Students can study several different compounds during one lab period. Crystal habit, growth zones, nucleation, deformation textures--students can examine many things quickly and easily.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students have successfully met the goals of this activity if they perform the experiments and demonstrate a better understanding of crystallization processes.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Means, W.D. (1986) Three microstructural exercises for students. Journal of Geologic Education, 34, 224-230.

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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