Mineral and Rock Identification

Mark Bowen
,
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
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Summary

Students are provided with a variety of rock and mineral samples and they use the sample properties and tables to accurately identify them.

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Context

Audience

The activity is used in an undergraduate introductory physical geography course that includes a 2-hour laboratory session that meets once per week. The focus of the course is landforms and soils. The course is predominantly composed of non-majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

None

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand-alone exercise that reinforces concepts introduced in lecture.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

  • Determine basic properties of rocks and minerals
  • Utilize tables to accurately identify samples

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Students are provided with a variety of mineral and rock samples. They are expected to determine a variety of properties of mineral samples to accurately identify them. Students then utilize tables to accurately identify rock samples.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students complete the exercise during a 2-hour laboratory session. Students are expected to work in pairs. Upon completion of the laboratory exercise, students must complete an online quiz that consists of the same questions in the exercise as well as questions on the background information included in the lab before the next lab meeting. The online quiz is within the Desire 2 Learn (D2L) online learning platform, so answers are automatically graded and imported into the student's grade book.

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