Mineral Properties Sheets

David Hirsch
Western WA University
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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 scanned from Nesse and/or Dana.

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Undergraduate required mineralogy course

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

The students need to understand determinative techniques of physical and optical mineralogy (I do these in the first two labs).

How the activity is situated in the course

I use these, along with other lab handouts, for the bulk of eight systematic mineralogy labs. Only selected minerals are studied in thin section and those only orthoscopically. (Conoscopic properties are included for completeness, and so these sheets can be extended in later courses). Students are allowed to use the set of sheets as notes for the lab final exam.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Students compile mineral properties, while learning to identify minerals in thin section and hand specimen.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Identification of distinguishing properties between similar minerals in hand specimen and thin section are the skills that students will acquire during this set of labs.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

These sheets are designed to give students a framework for making observations of minerals in hand specimen and (for selected minerals) in thin section. I place most of the emphasis on the distinguishing properties, rather than requiring an exhaustive list. Students use hand specimen observation, thin section observation (for selected minerals) and references to complete the forms.

Determining whether students have met the goals


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