Florida River Project: Minerals in the field

Kim Hannula
Fort Lewis College
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This is a field trip that is part of a semester-long research project. In this lab, students visit part of their research site to look at rocks and minerals in the study area.

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Introductory Earth Systems Science course with lab. (see the course profile)

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Identification of minerals (quartz, feldspars, biotite, calcite).

How the activity is situated in the course

This is the third lab during fall semester (and will probably not be used during winter semester). It follows a topographic maps lab in which students look at maps from the area of the field trip, and an indoor mineral identification lab. It comes before labs dealing with igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. Later in the semester, some lab groups will return to the same spot to collect water samples in the adjacent river. Other lab groups will sample water from points further downstream. All students will need to think about the influence of the bedrock on the dissolved load of the river.
See an overview of this project and find descriptions for each of the activities on the Florida River overview page.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Recognition of minerals in the field, igneous rock textures, sedimentary rock textures.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

This is a field trip designed to connect labs on rocks and minerals with the bedrock geology of a group research site. Students locate themselves on topographic maps using GPS and the topography they observe, examine igneous and sedimentary rocks, and sketch igneous and sedimentary rock textures. The field trip gives the students an opportunity to review some common minerals before being confronted with a large number of rocks in boxes.

Determining whether students have met the goals

1) Did students identify the minerals within each outcrop?
2) Do the sketches show that students observed textures within the rocks?

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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