Igneous rock identification
NEO A&M College
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: Jun 25, 2010
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
1) know igneous rock types
2) know intrusive and extrusive
3) know igneous rock types and how to identify each
4) know igneous rock compositions and predominant minerals in each
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
1) categorize which textures are intrusive vs extrusive
2) categorize which rocks go with each texture
3) categorize which rocks go with each composition
4) be able to fill in a summary table
Other skills goals for this activity
Description of the activity/assignment
Adaptations that allow this activity to be successful in an online environmentThere is a link in the assignment for students to practice rock identification prior to identifying the samples in the photographs provided with the lab. I will also be adding a pre-lab quiz on the terms that I do not currently do in my traditional class. In addition, I have added some post-lab questions. The pre-lab quiz and post-lab questions are discussions that I have with my students the day of the lab. By adding these two components, I believe it will strengthen the lab for an online activity.
Elements of this activity that are most effectiveI believe that the rock identification practice site will be effective as it will build students' confidence in correctly identifying the rocks, compositions, and textures in the absence of a lab partner or instructor providing immediate feedback and answers to questions. The website provides immediate feedback to the student.
Recommendations for other faculty adapting this activity to their own course:This assignment can be done either face to face or online. In a face to face class, the instructor will provide the rock samples to identify. In an online class, each sample can be linked to a photograph(s) for identification. I have not uploaded photographs here because I will be using the ones that accompany my textbook (see supporting references for information).
Determining whether students have met the goals
- Upon completion of the pre-test, students should have a working knowledge of the terms for this activity.
- Upon completion of the lab activity itself, students should be able to accurately identify common igneous rocks and minerals.
- If students have successfully accomplished the pre-test and lab activity, students should score at least a 75% on the post-lab questions.
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description: Igneous Rock Identification Activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 16kB Jun25 10)
The pre-lab quiz mentioned is not included on this page. You can design a few simple multiple choice or short answer questions to evaluate students' knowledge of terms and definitions encompassed within this activity.
Solution sets are dependent upon individual samples (whether provided in photographs, online links, or physical hand samples) provided to students.
- Igneous rock identification by Dave Jessey and Don Tarman through Cal State Pomona – students can use this site as a step-by-step tutorial to identify igneous rock samples. (Note: This site has been taken down. Contact us if you know of a suitable replacement.)
- Igneous rock identification using photographs by Richard Harwood of Black Hawk College – http://facweb.bhc.edu/academics/science/harwoodr/Geol101/Labs/Igneous/index.htm
- Textbook information: Reynolds, et al. 2010. Exploring Geology, 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill Publishing. ISBN: 978-0-07-337668-4