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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 Commodities part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise introduces students to mineral commodities.

Identifying Minerals with Chemical and Crystallographic Data part of Activities
Kent Ratajeski, University of Kentucky
In this exercise, crystal structure data for a variety of unknown minerals are downloaded and entered into XtalDraw or CrystalMaker visualization software program. Step-by-step tutorials are provided with ...

Introduction to Crystal Structure: Bond Strength part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is an exercise to get students thinking about coordination number and bond strength It is really an application of Pauling's Rules, mostly rule #2

Mineral Properties Sheets part of Activities
Dave Hirsch, Western Washington University
This activity consists of a set of 69 mineral sheets to be used as part of a term-length set of labs. Each sheet has spaces to write physical and optical properties for each mineral, and a crystal form diagram ...

Properties of Minerals part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Students examine a number of key mineral properties and how they are displayed by different minerals.

Properties of Minerals and Intro to Polarizing Microscopes part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise continues the study of the physical properties of minerals and introduces petrographic microscopes.

Mafic Mineral Properties and Thin Sections part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Students look at mafic igneous minerals, learning to distinguish and identify them in hand specimen. They also look at a few of the minerals in thin section.

A Last Look at Igneous Minerals in Thin Section part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
A final lab exercise that uses the optical mineralogy skills learned in the previous labs, and begins the transition to petrographic analysis of thin sections.

Sedimentary and Related Minerals part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is an introduction to sedimentary minerals and rocks.

Fun With Asbestos part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is a practical application of optical mineralogy involving identification of some asbestiform minerals.

X-ray Analysis of Sand part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is an x-ray diffraction analysis of six sand samples and comparison with hand specimens.

Metamorphic Rocks and Minerals part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is an introduction to the most important metamorphic rocks and minerals.

Phase Equilibria part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a short exercise that introduces basic thermodynamics.

Ore Minerals part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Introduction to sulfides and other ore minerals.

Experiments in Crystal Optics part of Activities
Hans Dieter Zimmermann
The purpose of the experiments below is to impart an intuitive understanding of the interaction between light and crystals and, thus, of optical crystallography. This will help to demystify what is seen in the ...