Crossword Puzzles to Review Mineral Concepts
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These crossword puzzles help students review mineral properties, including mineral names, mineral groups, characteristics in hand specimens, and chemical formulae. The crossword puzzles are fun and can be customized easily. The crosswords were made using the free and user-friendly puzzle maker available from Discovery Education at http://puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com/CrissCrossSetupForm.asp
The basic version is appropriate for an introductory physical geology course while the advanced version is more appropriate for a sophomore-level course for majors. I use these in my 100-level Geological Oceanography and 200-level Earth Materials courses, respectively. The crossword could be completed in class, in lab, as homework, or for extra credit.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Students must be familiar with hand specimen identification of minerals. The basic version includes minerals typically seen in introductory courses. The advanced version includes a much wider range of mineral names, characteristics, and chemical formulae.
How the activity is situated in the course
The crossword puzzle is provided as review material before the lab practical exam.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Students become more familiar with the extensive vocabulary required to identify and describe the physical properties of minerals in hand specimen. The crossword provides a fun way to review concepts, with the specimens or outside of lab.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
The activity lays the foundation for students to learn basic mineral names and characteristics so that they may use higher order thinking skills in the next phase of the class.
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
These crossword puzzles help students review mineral properties, including mineral names, mineral groups, characteristics in hand specimens, and chemical formulae. The crossword puzzles are fun and can be customized easily from the instructor files provided below. The crosswords were made using the free and easy to use crossword maker available from Discovery Education at http://puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com/CrissCrossSetupForm.asp. The puzzle maker is so user friendly that I'm considering asking students to make their own crossword puzzles to share.
I have included word banks to assist students in completing the crossword puzzles. These may be omitted to make them harder to solve.
Evaluation is easy, but cheating on the assignment is easy, too. Be clear ahead of time regarding your expectations for people working together. Alternatively, don't worry about it, and assume that those who copy will simply get what they deserve when they don't do as well on the exam.
References and Resources