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Dexter Perkins

University of North Dakota
undergraduate and graduate research-intensive institution solidly founded in the liberal arts


This class is an introduction to fundamental mineralogy and mineralogical principles. The course is taught as a studio course and implements spiral learning. Significant emphasis is placed on helping students develop holistic learning skills.

The content of this course closely follows the content of Mineralogy (Perkins, 2002, Prentice Hall). The class activities, which are of equal or greater importance than the content, are almost entirely student group projects.

Course URL: http://www.und.edu/instruct/mineral/318Mineralogy/
Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Mineralogy
Resource Type: Course Information:Goals/Syllabi, Course Information
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Course Type: Upper Level, Mineralogy
Topics: Solid Earth:Mineralogy
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Mineralogy
Course Size:

15-30 students

Course Context:

This course is designed for sophomore level Geology and Geological Engineering majors at the University of North Dakota but is applicable to any mid/upper-level undergraduate geology student interested in the principles of mineralogy.

Course Goals:

After completing this class, students can identify important minerals and explain why minerals are found where they are found. They are familiar with the fundamentals of mineral properties, optical microscopy, X-ray diffraction, crystallography, and the atomic structures of minerals. They can explain mineral systematics and the physics and chemistry that relates all minerals and mineral properties.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:


Skills Goals

students learn to be self-reflective about their learning and to develop better learning skills.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:


Attitudinal Goals


How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:



Students are assessed based on:
  • group projects
  • class portfolios
  • a semester long "private mineral" project
  • several exams


The syllabus outlines the course framework and links to class exercises and teaching notes where they are used in the course.

The two texts used are Mineralogy (Perkins, 2002, Prentice Hall) and Minerals in Thin Section (Perkins and Henke, 2004, Prentice Hall). In addition there are many handouts pertinent to specific class activities.

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