and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.
Students, in pairs, examine five boxes of minerals. Each box illustrates a mineral property. After this part of the activity, we discuss other mineral properties and students introduce themselves. Then, students revisit the boxes; this time they quiz each other on the mineral property (e.g. resinous luster, 90 degree cleavage...) and try to name the mineral.
I think this is effective because
- it gets students used to the idea of small group activities that will occur in nearly every class
- it sets the expectation of a "student centered" class where the students are responsible for the material and I am more of a reference and facilitator
- it shows them examples of the mineral properties that are introduced in their first reading
- it starts them on the process of learning to identify minerals
- it sets the stage for the next day's laboratory exercise and
- it introduces them to at least two other people in the class