Teach the Earth > Mineralogy > Teaching Activities > Calculating Weight Percents and Normalizing Analyses

Calculating Oxide Weight Percents from Formulae and Normalizing Chemical Analyses

Dexter Perkins
University of North Dakota

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: Aug 7, 2006


This exercise involves converting chemical analyses to mineral formulas, and mineral formulas to oxide and element weight percents.

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This exercise is designed for a mid/upper-level undergraduate geology course on the principles of mineralogy.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have knowledge of basic chemistry and of minerals equivalent to what they would learn in an introductory geology class.

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity is the 2nd of 36 mineralogy exercises and is used at the beginning of the course.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

  • Be able to convert between such things as moles and grams.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

  • Be able to apply basic chemical principles.
  • Carry out simple mathematic problems.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

This short exercise refreshes students memories about converting chemical analyses to mineral formulas, and mineral formulas to oxide and element weight percents.

  • Students convert between formulae and weight percents, showing all work.
  • The problem set handout has enough introductory material for students to be able to complete the problems without any instructor lecturing or textbook reading.

Determining whether students have met the goals

See that the students have correctly converted everything in the problem set.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Supporting references/URLs

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