Minerals and Light

Edward F. Stoddard
,
North Carolina State University
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Summary

Optical Mineralogy and thin sections just blew me away when I first was exposed to them. (Of course that was the psychedelic 60's!) Because of my experience, I've always thought that we might attract a major or two if we introduced first-year students to interference colors and such. Therefore, this exercise is primarily intended to be used in an introductory (physical) geology class, perhaps for advanced students or as an extra credit project. It may also be appropriate as a brief introduction ("teaser"?) to optics in a mineralogy or optical class.

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Context

Audience

This activity is designed for an undergraduate required course in mineralogy and is generally for sophomore or junior level students.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have a basic understanding of general mineralogy and how to use a petrographic microscope.

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity is a stand-alone exercise, but is part of a larger volume of classroom and laboratory activities from "Teaching Mineralogy," a workbook published by the Mineralogical Society of America, Brady, J., Mogk, D. W., and Perkins, D., (editors), 1997,406 pp.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

This activity helps students understand optical mineralogy - how minerals interact with light.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

This activity includes the use of analytical equipment (microscopes).

Description of the activity/assignment

Optical Mineralogy and thin sections just blew me away when I first was exposed to them. (Of course that was the psychedelic 60's!) Because of my experience, I've always thought that we might attract a major or two if we introduced first-year students to interference colors and such. Therefore, this exercise is primarily intended to be used in an introductory (physical) geology class, perhaps for advanced students or as an extra credit project. It may also be appropriate as a brief introduction ("teaser"?) to optics in a mineralogy or optical class.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students have successfully completed this activity if they are able to answer the questions embedded within the activity thoroughly and correctly.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Brady, J., Mogk, D. W., and Perkins, D., (editors), 1997, Teaching Mineralogy, a workbook published by the Mineralogical Society of America, 406 pp.

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