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Teaching Petrology in the 21st Century
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Cutting Edge > Petrology > Teaching Activities > Mass Balance and Mineral Reactions

Mass Balance and Mineral Reactions

Dexter Perkins
,
University of North Dakota
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review 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: Jan 18, 2006

Summary

This is a short exercise to make sure that students understand mass balance and how the different starting assemblages may lead to different results after metamorphism. It is quick but not trivial.

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Context

Audience

Introductory Petrology

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should know what a mineral reaction is and they should know the basic implications of PT phase diagrams.

How the activity is situated in the course

I use this exercise to help students focus their thinking on the idea of mass balance. This exercise is, surprising to me, not easy for some students to complete. So, the exercise provides a good check and leads to further discussion as needed.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

The students learn to use phase diagrams and how to determine the ways that mineral assemblages change during metamorphism.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

This exercise helps students make the connection between phase diagrams (abstract) and real mineral assemblages (concrete).

Other skills goals for this activity

None.

Description of the activity/assignment

This is a short exercise to make sure that students understand mass balance and how different starting assemblages may lead to different results after metamorphism. It is quick but not trivial.

I use this in class and find that students have some difficulties. The exercise then provides the focus of discussion as we work through the difficulties and work toward better conceptual understanding.

Determining whether students have met the goals

This project is not graded. Instead it is used to identify misconceptions. So, the exercise is a success if the students are able to complete it.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Teaching Phase Equilibria–visit this site for a complete overview of applications of phase equilibria in igneous and metamorphic petrology.

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