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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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Calculating Compositional Variation and Common Substitutions for Igneous and Metamorphic Minerals part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
This problem set uses Excel spreadsheets to calculate mineral formulae from analytical data (typically from the electron microprobe) using a variety of formulations that assume numerous variations of crystal ...

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part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Field Labs:Field Lab Examples
Mary Savina, Carleton College
Describing rock outcrops and hand specimens -

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Online Investigation of an Island Arc Volcano: Anatahan, Mariana Arc part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Jeff Ryan, University of South Florida-St. Petersburg
This activity is a Web investigation and research exercise starting with the 2003-present Anatahan volcanic eruptions in the Mariana arc, and concluding with a petrologic examination of published Mariana arc lavas data sets.

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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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Modeling Exsolution (and Perthite Formation) as an Example of Complex-System Behavior part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman; Barb Dutrow, Louisiana State University
Students use a physical model, computer simulation, examples from the natural world, visualizations, and overarching thought experiments to explore this phenomenon. Exsolution embodies attributes of a complex ...

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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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Introduction to the properties of clay minerals part of Activities
stephen Guggenheim, University of Illinois at Chicago
These laboratory experiments are designed to show the cation exchange capabilities of clays and how these exchanges affect physical properties.

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Reagents, Compositions, Weight Loss part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a short experimental study of several different reagents and what happens to them when they are heated to 110° and 1200° C.

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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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Examination of Igneous Silicates part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
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.

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