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Mineralogy Exercises

The exercises listed below were used in Mineralogy in 2005. All, except the Private Mineral Project, were cooperative learning exercises. Most were started during class but required groups to work on them outside of normal class time.

Many of these exercises are based on materials and mineral samples we have at UND and so will need to be modified for use elsewhere. In addition, while appropriate for our UND mineralogy class, some probably fall outside of the range of activities included in classes at other schools. PDF and RTF files (which can be imported and edited in Word) can be obtained for most of the exercises by clicking on the links below. Additionally, instructors' notes and answers to many problems are provided where appropriate.

Exercise 1: Reagents, Compositions, Weight Loss

Notes for instructors (Acrobat (PDF) 15kB Jul8 05) Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 6kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 12kB Jul7 05)
Description: A short experimental study of several different compounds and what happens to them when they are heated.
Content Goals: This exercise is a review of formulas, atomic weights, moles and grams, and converting weights to percents, etc.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: To achieve success, students must understand and apply basic chemical principles. After completing the experiments they must analyze and interpret their results.
Other goals: Students learn the importance of good, careful lab technique and of taking good notes.

Exercise 2: Calculating Oxide Weight Percents from Formulae and Normalizing Chemical Analyses

Notes for instructors (Acrobat (PDF) 12kB Jul7 05) Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 30kB Jul8 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 14kB Jul8 05)
Description: This exercise involves converting chemical analyses to mineral formulas, and mineral formulas to oxide and element weight percents.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: This exercise involves application of basic chemical principles.

Exercise 3: Properties of Minerals

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 356kB Jul8 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 40kB Jul8 05)
Description: Students examine a number of key mineral properties and how they are displayed by different minerals.
Content Goals: Students learn about the details and subtle implications of some key mineral properties.

Exercise 4: Mineral Classification—What's in a Name?

Notes for instructors (Acrobat (PDF) 2.9MB Jul13 05) Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 7kB Jul13 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 13kB Jul13 05)
Description: Students derive their own scheme for identifying and naming minerals.
Content Goals: To become familiar with the most important mineral properties used for mineral identification.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: This project involves analyzing a complex problem, synthesizing information of different sorts, and then deriving a logical and practical mineral classification scheme. It also involve evaluation of the ways early mineralogists approached the same problem.

Exercise 5: Properties of Minerals and Intro to Polarizing Microscopes

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 1.3MB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 97kB Jul7 05)
Description: Continue the study of the physical properties of minerals and an introduction to a petrographic microscope.
Content Goals: Become more familiar with mineral properties. Become familiar with the basic components of a petrographic microscope and with the most important mineral optical properties.

Exercise 6: Private Mineral Project - Part 1

Notes for instructors (Acrobat (PDF) 7kB Jul7 05) Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 19kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 15kB Jul7 05)
Description: Students begin to work on their semester-long private mineral project.
Content Goals: To learn just about everything about one particular mineral.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Synthesize information of many different sorts to create a complete picture.
Other Goals: Introduction to working with graphics, digital images, and fundamental web page creation. Learn to prepare a formal manuscript for publication.

Exercise 7: Crystallizing Minerals from Aqueous Solutions - Part I

Notes for instructors (Acrobat (PDF) 12kB Jul7 05) Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 10kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 10kB Jul13 05)
Description: Students dissolve selected salts and other compounds in water, let the water evaporate, and examine the crystals that grow.
Content Goals: To learn about the ways minerals crystallized from aqueous solutions
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Learn to think about crystal shapes and to classify them in a logical way.
Other Goals: To continue to improve experimental technique.

Exercise 8: Introduction to X-ray diffraction

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 146kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 13kB Jul7 05)
Description: Students collect X-ray diffraction patterns for the experimental products obtained in Exercise 1.
Content Goals: Learn to operate an X-ray diffractometer.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Students must synthesize X-ray diffraction results with weight loss experiments conducted earlier.
Other goals: Students learn to deal with ambiguity.

Exercise 9: First Look at Crystal Shapes

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 5kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 7kB Jul7 05)
Description: A short and simple exercise requiring students to examine and compare different crystal shapes.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: This exercise is intended to start students thinking about ways to describe and classify crystal shapes, and also about the significance of crystal shape.

Exercise 10: The properties of Amphiboles, Micas, Pyroxenes, and Olivines and an Introduction to Mineral Properties in Thin Section

Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 92kB Jul13 05)
Description: Students look at mafic igneous minerals, learning to distinguish and identify them in hand specimen. They also look at a few of the minerals in thin section. properties.
Content Goals: Learn to identify mafic minerals. Be able to identify and describe the properties of minerals seen in thin section. Learn the basic techniques of optical mineralogy.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Students learn to group and classify minerals according to their physical properties.

Exercise 11: Examination of the Quartz, Feldspathoids, Feldspar, Zeolite Group and other Framework Silicates

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 9kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 12kB Jul7 05)
Description: Students study hand samples of light-colored igneous minerals and related mineral species. They look at some of the same minerals, and others, in thin section.
Content Goals: Learn to identify important light-colored minerals. Learn to identify the most important minerals in thin section.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Begin to think about why minerals of the same chemical group have similar properties.

Exercise 12: Plagioclase Phase Diagram

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 974kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 16kB Jul7 05)
Description: A short exercise involving the plagioclase phase diagram.
Content Goals: Students learn how to interpret the plagioclase phase diagram.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Learn how to translate a phase diagram into something meaningful.

Exercise 13: Crystallization and Melting of Diopside - Anorthite

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 485kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 20kB Jul7 05)
Description: A short exercise to introduce students to phase diagrams that have a eutectic and a peritectic.
Content Goals:
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Learn how to translate a phase diagram into something meaningful.

Exercise 14: A Last Look at Igneous Minerals in Thin Section

Description: Wrap-up exercise reviewing the properties of the most important igneous minerals in thin section.
Content Goals: Learn to identify key igneous minerals in thin section.
Other Goals: Improve skill with a petrographic microscope.

Exercise 15: Sedimentary and Related Minerals

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 9kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 10kB Jul7 05)
Description: An introduction to sedimentary minerals and rocks.
Content Goals: Learn to identify the most important sedimentary minerals in hand specimen and in thin section.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Identify key properties useful for mineral identification.

Exercise 16: Synthetic Alkali Halides

Notes for instructors (Acrobat (PDF) 1.1MB Jul7 05) Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 5.2MB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 46kB Jul7 05)
Description: A complex experimental investigation of the melting of alkali halides. This project takes more than one class and involves using an X-ray diffractometer.
Content Goals: Be able to explain what a solvus is and to interpret solvus diagrams.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Understand the nature of experimental studies. Learn to deal with ambiguous experimental results. Learn to combine information of different sorts to reach conclusions/interpretations.
Other Goals: Improve experimental technique.

Exercise 17: Fun With Asbestos

Notes for instructors (Acrobat (PDF) 7kB Jul7 05) Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 37kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 21kB Jul7 05)
Description: A practical application of optical mineralogy involving identification of some asbestiform minerals.
Content Goals: Become familiar with mineral properties in thin section. Learn to distinguish asbsestiform and related minerals from each other.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Learn to sift data in order to identify that which is key to solving a problem.
Other Goals: Realize that science has practical and meaningful applications.

Exercise 18: X-ray Analysis of Sand

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 6kB Jul13 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 10kB Jul13 05)
Description: X-ray diffraction analysis of six samples of sand and comparison with hand specimens.
Content Goals: Learn practical aspects of X-ray diffraction and also its limits.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Critical evaluation of analytical results.

Exercise 19: Metamorphic Rocks and Minerals

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 12kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 12kB Jul7 05)
Description: Introduction to the most important metamorphic minerals and rocks.
Content Goals: Learn to identify key metamorphic minerals and rocks in hand specimen and thin section.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Identify key properties useful for mineral identification.

Exercise 20: Phase Equilibria

Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 405kB Jul7 05)
Description: A short exercise that introduces basic thermodynamics.
Content Goals: Learn to do fundamental thermodynamic calculations
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Use data to create phase diagrams.

Exercise 21: Ore Minerals

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 21kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 11kB Jul7 05)
Description: Introduction to sulfides and other ore minerals.
Content Goals: Learn to identify key ore minerals in hand specimen.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Identify key properties useful for mineral identification.

Exercise 22: Mineral Commodities

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 3.2MB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 55kB Jul7 05)
Description: An exercise that introduces students to mineral commodities.
Content Goals: Become familiar with human uses of some key mineral commodities and with some of the things that control mineral production.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Be able to create and interpret graphs.

Exercise 23: Symmetry

Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 119kB Jul7 05)
Description: An introduction to the basic symmetry elements.
Content Goals: Be able to identify symmetry in atomic strutures, crystals or other objects.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Develop ability to recognize patterns and to deal with abstract concepts.

Exercise 24: Using Shape to Make Crystal Drawings

Notes for instructors (Acrobat (PDF) 8kB Jul7 05) Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 386kB Jul13 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 47kB Jul13 05)
Description: Uses a computer graphics program to make crystal drawings.
Content Goals: Be able to identify symmetry and understand its significance. Become familiar with some of the fundamental forms displayed by minerals.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Apply abstract principles and use abstract properties in meaningful ways.

Exercise 25: Photographing Minerals

Description: Students take digital photographs of mineral specimens and learn how to manipulate them with Photoshop.
Content Goals: A practical lesson in digital photography.

Exercise 26: Point Groups

Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 300kB Jul7 05)
Description: This exercise involves identifying symmetry in crystals and using that information to assign crystals to crystal systems and point groups.
Content Goals: Become familiar with the crystal systems and the 32 point groups and be able to assign crystals to the correct ones.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Identification, analysis, and application of abstract properties (symmetry) useful for mineral identifictation.

Exercise 27: Stereo Diagrams

Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 233kB Jul7 05)
Description: Introduction to stereo diagrams
Content Goals: Be able to create and interpret stereo diagrams.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Translate real objects into graphical representations and abstract models.

Exercise 28: Private Mineral - Part 2 (see Exercise 6)

Description: Continuation of the private mineral project started earlier in the semester
Content Goals: Learn more about the nature/properties of one "private" mineral. Apply ideas about symmetry to minerals.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Combine/integrate information of many different sorts and understand how it fits together.

Exercise 29: Symmetry 3

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 2kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 7kB Jul7 05)
Description: Summary exercise involving identification of crystal systems and point groups, and construction of stereo diagrams.
Content Goals: Learn to identify symmetry. Become familiar with the crystal systems and the 32 point groups and be able to assign crystals to the correct ones. Be able to construct stereo diagrams for crystals of different shapes.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Describe real objects (crystals) with abstract concepts such as symmetry and stereo diagrams.

Exercise 30: Private Mineral Part 3 (see Exercise 6)

Description: Students continue to collect information about their "private" minerals.
Content Goals: Practical mineral photography and X-ray diffraction. Learn to use Photoshop and basic graphics programs.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Learn to combine different kinds of information, and recognize connections, in order to completely describe something.

Exercise 31: X-ray Analysis of an Unknown Mineral

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 3kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 8kB Jul7 05)
Description: X-ray analysis of an unknown mineral.
Content Goals: Practical X-ray diffraction. Using X-ray data to identify minerals and to determine unit cell parameters.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Learn how experimental data can be used to identify unknown samples and to derive fundamental physical values.

Exercise 32: Introduction to Crystal Structures—Ionic Radius (Pauling's Rule #1)

Description: A look at Pauling's "radius ratio" concept
Content Goals: Learn how cation and anion size relate to coordination number.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Application of geometry and logic to crystal structures.

Exercise 33: Introduction to Crystal Structures—Bond Strength (Pauling's Rule #2)

Exercise Word (RTF) file (Rich Text File 26kB Jul7 05) Exercise pdf file (Acrobat (PDF) 13kB Jul7 05)
Description: A look at Pauling's "electrostatic valency" principle.
Content Goals: Understand the nature and strength of ionic bonds.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Think about crystals as systems governed by fundamental physical/electrostatic laws.

Exercise 34: Mineral Structure 2

Description: Introduction to some basic crystal structures.
Content Goals: Become familiar with simple basic crystal structures. Be able to identify and explain them.
Other Goals: Learn to use graphics programs to make 2- and 3-dimensional drawings of crystal structures, and be able to relate the drawings to ball and stick, and other, models.

Exercise 35: Mineral Structure 3

Description: Introduction to silicate structures.
Content Goals: Become familiar with silicate mineral crystal structures. Be able to identify and explain them.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Be able to make connections between abstract properties that govern crystal structures and the structures of silicate minerals.
Other Goals: Learn to use graphics programs to make 2- and 3-dimensional drawings of crystal structures, and be able to relate the drawings to ball and stick, and other, models.

Exercise 36: Private Mineral Gallery Walk

Notes for instructors (Acrobat (PDF) 7kB Jul13 05)
Description: Public display of "private mineral" posters created by students and a group learning session based on the posters.
Higher Order Thinking Goals: Develop critical thinking skills. Evaluate, contrast and compare the different student presentations. Learn to use disparate information to answer complex questions.


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