# Dexter Perkins

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*Jump to:*Biography | Modules | Teaching Activities | Courses | Essays | Workshops | Articles | Other Resources

## Biography:

Dexter Perkins teaches geology, environmental issues, mineralogy, and ore deposits courses in the Geology Department at the University of North Dakota. His main interests include thermodynamics of minerals and mineral systems.

## SERC Modules:

- Studio Teaching - This module provides information about studio teaching, which is done in under circumstances that maximize students working together in groups and being responsible for their own learning. The module provides the what, why, and how studio teaching is used as well as examples of studio teaching and resources.
- Knowledge Surveys - This module, written by Karl Wirth and Dexter Perkins, is part of the Cutting Edge project and provides information regarding using knowledge surveys in the classroom to assess student learning. The module provides the what, why, and how knowledge surveys are used as well as examples of knowledge survey questions and resources.
- Teaching Phase Equilibria -The purpose of this website is to provide a comprehensive introduction to heterogeneous phase equilibria in the geosciences. To support teaching and learning, this site contains the essential background information needed to understand phase equilibria, links to related resources, examples of worked problems, and teaching activities. This site provides a series of "primers" or tutorials that will enable students and other users to appropriately use modern thermodynamic modeling programs such as ThermoCalc, MELTS, TWQ and PERPLEX.

Several pages in this module are authored or co-authored by Dexter Perkins.

## SERC Activity Pages:

**Jump to:****Field Trips | Environmental Science | Petrology | Mineralogy**

Affective Domain

- Learning about Thinking and Thinking about Learning - A document about learning provides background information for classroom activities to help students be more intentional about their thinking and learning.

- Reflection After Exam #1 - Students did poorly on the first exam, so I borrowed and modified this exercise. It is intended to get them to think about what THEY can do to improve performance on future exams. The original idea came from Marsha Lovett at Carnegie Mellon, was modified by Karl Wirth at Macalester, and then modified by me.

- A Field Trip to See a Cross Section of the Crust and Samples of the Mantle - This field experience begins in Sonoma County, a few hours north of San Francisco. It moves south along the coast and then cuts inland. The end of the trip is in the Mojave Desert, in southeastern California. Return to San Francisco takes 5 or 6 hours.

- The Lifestyle Project at the University of North Dakota - This 3-week project asks students to make changes to their everyday environmental habits. This helps students realize that they have control of their lives and they can make decisions and make changes if they want to. And, given this empowerment, students can think about their impacts on Earth and their obligations to the planet and our society.

- Schreinemakers Analysis - Problem 1 - Analysis of an Invariant Point (Py-Sp-En-Sil-Cd) - This is a standard Schreinemakers problem: identifying the sequence of stable and metastable reactions around an invariant point.
- Schreinemakers Analysis - Problem 2 - Analysis of an Invariant Point with Application of the Clausius-Clapeyron Equation (An-Gr-CaTs-Ky-Qz) - This is a standard Schreinemakers problem: identifying the sequence of stable and metastable reactions around an invariant point. The added wrinkle is that they use the Clausius-Clapeyron Equation to calculate slopes and thus get reactions oriented correctly.
- Schreinemakers Analysis - Problem 3 - Analysis of an Invariant Point (Mg-Zo-An-Gr-Pr-Ky) - This is a challenging Schreinemakers analysis problem.
- Schreinemakers Analysis - Problem 4 - This is a straightforward Schreinemakers analysis involving two invariant points.
- Simple Eutectic Exercise: Diopside-Anorthite - This exercise can be done in-class (I use it as a group activity) or as homework. It is a quick way to get students to figure out how to use and interpret simple eutectic diagrams.
- Introduction to Mineral Equilibria - This activity features a short problem set to be used in class. It helps focus the discussion, while providing a starting point for an introduction to mineral reactions and phase diagrams.
- AFM Diagram Quiz - This is a short problem set I use to determine if students know how to interpret AFM diagrams. I call it a quiz but it is really more of a learning experience. It works well as an in-class group exercise.
- Phase Diagrams - This is a somewhat lengthy homework assignment that introduces students to phase diagrams. It is a tutorial that stands alone and does not need much introduction.
- Mass Balance and Mineral Reactions - 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.
- Mole %, Weight %, Compositions and Projections - This is an introductory exercise intended to get students thinking about mole vs weight % and about the power and problems of projections.
- Plotting Compositions in 2-D and 3-D Space - This is a fairly short exercise that can be used for an in-class cooperative learning project or as homework. It includes LOTS of explanation and so is sort of a tutorial. I use it in my petrology class because it works better than lecturing.
- Naming Igneous Rocks - This project is intended to introduce students to the IUGS rock classification scheme. Samples come from the Wards Collections (which many schools have). Students are provided with both hand specimens and thin sections. They also get a brief rock description - so this project can be done even if their mineral ID skills are not honed.
- Plagioclase Phase Diagram - This is a short exercise aimed at evaluating whether students understand how to interpret the Ab-An phase diagram.
- Phase Diagrams and Chemographic Projections - This exercise is a good way to get students thinking about the phase rule, metastable, and stable reactions and phase diagrams. It can be done in class or as homework.
- Three Component Systems - This exercise involves plotting mineral compositions on triangular (3-component diagrams) and using those diagrams to determine possible mineral reactions.
- Introduction to Gibbs Energy - This is a short project that can be used in-class or as homework. It involves just a few questions and it is intended to help students understand the idea of Gibbs free energy.
- Interpreting T-X Diagrams - This exercise is designed to help students learn how to interpret T-X phase diagrams. It also introduces them to the systematics of reactions involving a group of minerals.
- T-X Phase Diagrams - This is a 15 page tutorial and problem set designed to get students familiar with T-X diagrams, their implications, and uses.
- Calculating a Simple Phase Diagram - Diamond=Graphite - This is a very short exercise designed to get students to understand how the Gibbs energy equation is used to calculate the location of a reaction in P-T space. I use it in class and have students work on it in groups.
- Simple Peritectic Exercise: Leucite-Quartz - This can be done as an in-class exercise (I use it as a group project) or as homework. It is intended to help students learn how to interpret and use peritectic diagrams.

- Mineral Synthesis and X-Ray Diffraction Experiments - This 6-week laboratory activity has students working in groups of two or more to synthesize and then analyze their mineral using XRD.
- Fun with Asbestos - This exercise is a practical application of optical mineralogy involving identification of some asbestiform minerals.
- Introduction to Crystal Structure: Bond Strength - This is an exercise to get students thinking about coordination number and bond strength. It utilizes Pauling's rules, mainly rule #2.
- Mineral Classification Exercise - This exercise gets students thinking about mineral classificatoin and the properties that are most useful for classifying and identifying minerals.
- Calculating Oxide Weight Percents from Formulae and Normalizing Chemical Analyses - This exercise involves converting chemical analyses to mineral formulas, and mineral formulas to oxide and element weight percents.
- Properties of Minerals - Students examine a number of key mineral properties and how they are displayed by different minerals.
- Properties of Minerals and Intro to Polarizing Microscopes - This exercise continues the study of the physical properties of minerals and introduces petrographic microscopes.
- Crystallizing Minerals from Aqueous Solutions - Students dissolve selected salts and other compounds in water, let the water evaporate, and examine the crystals that grow.
- First Look at Crystal Shapes - This is a short and simple exercise requiring students to examine and compare different crystal shapes.
- The Properties of Amphiboles, Micas, Pyroxenes, and Olivines and an Introduction to Mineral Properties in Thin Section - 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.
- Examination of the Quartz, Feldspathoids, Feldspar, Zeolite Group and other Framework Silicates - 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.
- Plagioclase Phase Diagram - This short exercise involves the binary plagioclase "two-phase loop" phase diagram.
- Crystallization and Melting of Diopside - Anorthite - This short exercise introduces students to the binary phase diagram in the diopside-anorthite system that contains a eutectic invariant point.
- A Last Look at Igneous Minerals in Thin Section - A final lab exercise that uses the optical mineralogy skills learned in the previous labs, and begins the transition to petrographic analysis of thin sections.
- Sedimentary and Related Minerals - This exercise is an introduction to sedimentary minerals and rocks.
- X-ray Analysis of Sand - This is an x-ray diffraction analysis of six sand samples and comparison with hand specimens.
- Metamorphic Rocks and Minerals - This exercise is an introduction to the most important metamorphic rocks and minerals.
- Phase Equilibria - This is a short exercise that introduces basic thermodynamics.
- Ore Minerals - Introduction to sulfides and other ore minerals.
- Mineral Commodities - This exercise introduces students to mineral commodities.
- Symmetry - This is an introduction to the basic symmetry elements.
- Using SHAPE to Make Crystal Drawings - In this exercise, students use SHAPE, a computer graphics program, to make crystal drawings.
- Point Groups - This exercise involves identifying symmetry in crystals and using that information to assign crystals to crystal systems and point groups.
- Stereo Diagrams - This exercise is an introduction to stereo diagrams.
- Symmetry Summary - This summary exercise involves crystal system and point group identification and stereo diagram construction.
- X-ray Analysis of Unknown Minerals - In this exercise, students use X-ray analysis to identify unknown minerals.
- Introduction to Crystal Structures: Bond Strength (Pauling's Rule #2) - A look at Pauling's "electrostatic valency" principle.
- Mineral Structure 2 - Introduction to some basic crystal structures.
- Mineral Structure 3 - Introduction to silicate structures.
- Private Mineral Gallery Walk - Public display of "private mineral" posters created by students and a group learning session based on the posters.
- Mineral Classification - What is in a Name - Students derive their own scheme for identifying and naming minerals. This exercise introduces the ambiguities encountered in classifying minerals that lead ultimately to the development of Dana's system of mineralogy.
- Growing Crystals on a Microscope Stage - 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 including crystal habit, growth zones, nucleation, deformation textures during one lab period.
- Synthetic Alkali Halides - This is a complex experimental investigation of the melting of alkali halides. This project takes more than one class and involves using an X-ray diffractometer.
- A Fun and Effective Exercise for Understanting Lattices and Space Groups - This activity uses figures from Francois Brisse as Esher drawings to teach students about 2-dimensional symmetry, especially involving translation.
- Reagents, Compositions, Weight Loss - This is a short experimental study of several different reagents and what happens to them when they are heated to 110° and 1200° C.
- Introduction to X-ray Diffraction - Students collect X-ray diffraction patterns for the experimental products obtained in a lab on Reagents, Compositions, Weight Loss.
- Plane Groups - Studying plane groups is a good way to introduce crystal systems, point groups, lattices, symmetry operators, etc. All is in 2-D, but it is easy to tell students that the principles are the same in 3-D. I provide, here, a PDF document with more than 60 images for instructors to use.
- Private Mineral Project - Students begin to work on semester-long private mineral projects.
- Photographing Minerals - Students take digital photographs of mineral specimens and learn how to manipulate them with Photoshop.

## Courses:

- Mineralogy Course Syllabus - Part of the Cutting Edge Course Design collection. This course is an introduction to fundamental mineralogy and mineralogical principles.

## Essays and Interviews:

- Metacognition: Thinking about Thinking and Learning - From the 2008 Metacognition workshop.
- Affective Domain Essay - From the 2007 Affective Domain workshop.
- Finding Your Balance - From the 2006 Early Career workshop.

## Participant in the following SERC Workshops:

- 2007 Cutting Edge Affective Domain workshop

- 2006 Cutting Edge Public Policy workshop

- 2005 Cutting Edge Student Learning: Observing and Assessing workshop

- 2003 Cutting Edge Web-Based Resources workshop

- 2003 Cutting Edge Petrology workshop

## NAGT Articles:

- Perkins, Dexter. 2005. The Case for a Cooperative Studio Classroom: Teaching Petrology in a Different Way,
*Journal of Geoscience Education*. v. 53, p.101-109. - Perkins, Dexter. 2004. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Assessment, and the Journal of Geoscience Education,
*Journal of Geoscience Education*. v. 52, p.113-114.

## Other Resources by Dexter Perkins:

- Interactive Metacognitive Learning Wrapper - by Duncan Sibley, Martha Mamo, Perry Samson, Dexter Perkins and Simon Brassell. Developed at the 2008 Metacognition workshop. This page provides a real-time, on-line metacognitive wrapper soliciting students' reflection on challenging concepts and reinforcing productive learning strategies.
- Scientific Uncertainty and Global Warming - Dilemma proposed by Bob Butler and Dexter Perkins with problem-solving strategy response from Kaatje Kraft and Matt Nyman as part of the Affective Domain dilemma collection.
- Karl the Tree Hugger - Dilemma proposed by Eric Pyle and Dexter Perkins with problem-solving strategy response from LeeAnn Srogi, Ann Bykerk-Kauffman, and Todd Zakrajsek as part of the Affective Domain dilemma collection.
- Attitudes About Working in Groups versus Individually - Dilemma proposed by Alan Boyle, Dave Mogk, Karl Wirth, Suki Smaglik, Lisa Gilbert, Kathie Owens, and Lew Brown with problem-solving strategy response from Eric Pyle and Dexter Perkins as part of the Affective Domain dilemma collection.
- Meeting Learning Goals with a Below Average Course - Dilemma proposed by Jeff Johnson with problem-solving strategy response from Dexter Perkins (among others) as part of the Affective Domain dilemma collection.