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Classroom, Lab and Field Activities

This collection of teaching materials has been contributed by geoscience faculty. Do you have a favorite lab, demonstration or activity? If so, please consider sharing it with the larger community.


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Mineral Classification Exercise part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise gets students thinking about mineral classification and the properties that are most useful for classifying and identifying minerals.

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Short Readings from the American Mineralogist: Sneaky Tools for Teaching Scientific Reading Comprehension and Mineralogical Concepts part of Activities
Kurt Hollocher, Union College- New York
This activity uses short, well-written articles to enhance teaching for a mineralogy course. Articles are taken from the American Mineralogist journal.

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Directed Discovery of Crystal Structures part of Integrating Research and Education:Crystallography:Directed Discovery of Crystal Structures
David Mogk and Kent Ratajeski Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT Published Jan. 25, 2005 Description This contribution is modified from a published exercise "Directed ...

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Directed Discovery of Crystal Structures part of Activities
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman; Kent Ratajeski, University of Kentucky
This online exercise uses a "discovery-based" approach and the latest online crystallographic information and visualization software to teach the spatial relationships and crystal-chemical rules that ...

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Determining Mantle Temperature and Composition from Discontinuities part of Cutting Edge:Topics:Deep Earth:Activities
Anna Courtier, James Madison University
This pair of activities uses observations of mantle discontinuity structure to examine mantle heterogeneity and differences in the depth extent of melt sources for ridges and "hotspots." The first ...

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Exploring the Uniaxial Indicatrix part of Activities
Sarah Penniston-Dorland, University of Maryland-College Park
This activity gives the students a 3-dimensional perspective on the uniaxial indicatrix, its various parts, and the relationship between different orientations of the indicatrix and the corresponding optical ...

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Mineral Properties -- Learning through Experience part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Activities
Katryn Wiese, City College of San Francisco
Students are each given a mineral and asked to locate all other students in the room with the same mineral (knowing there are a total of 5 different minerals). Once groups form, they need to decide what characteristics are similar for all their samples and ultimately report out to the whole class on their observations.

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Introduction to Mineral Identification part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Activities
Suki Smaglik, Central Wyoming College
The exercise uses an inquiry-based approached to overcome the fear of tackling mineral identification. Few instructions are given and students discover for themselves how to approach identification.

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Observational Skills in a Simple Crystal Growing Experiment part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Activities
Richard Gottfried, Frederick Community College
Students grow crystals and identify the crystal system by observing their basic geometric form. Students all research crytallization processes.

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Mineral Classification - What's in a Name? part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus; Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
Students derive their own scheme for identifying and naming minerals. Examples include different minerals that have the same crystal forms, and mineral species that occur with numerous forms and varieties to ...

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Crystallization and Melting of Diopside - Anorthite part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This short exercise introduces students to the binary phase diagram in the diopside-anorthite system that contains a eutectic invariant point.

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Determining the Geologic History of Rocks from a Gravel Deposit part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Cooperative Learning:Examples
Activity designed by Daniel Rolf Tucker, Melinda Riddler Tucker, and William Albert Rieck of the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Starting Point page developed by John McDaris.
Gravels deposited as a result of continental glaciation are used to teach introductory-level earth-science students the application of the scientific method in a cooperative learning mode which utilizes hands-on, ...

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What Goes into Making Volcanic Arc Magmas, and How Do We Know It? part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Jeff Ryan, University of South Florida-St. Petersburg
This activity is a directed reading exercise focused on papers that have been key to our understanding of the major source contributors to subduction zone volcanic rocks.

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Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Weight of Gold part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question Let's suppose that you have a shoe box full of water (the box is waterproof, of course). The shoe box weighs about 9 kg (19.8 pounds). Suppose you emptied the box and filled it completely with rock ...

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Deciphering complex fluid-mineral interactions in the palm of your hand part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
Barb Dutrow, Louisiana State University
This exercise uses polished rock slabs containing veins sealed by copper-bearing minerals to understand the feedback effects in complex fluid-rock systems. By determining the minerals and their relative timing, the ...

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