Teach the Earth > Mineralogy > Teaching Activities > Properties of Minerals

Properties of Minerals

Dexter Perkins
University of North Dakota
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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


Students examine a number of key mineral properties and how they are displayed by different minerals.

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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 3rd of 36 mineralogy exercises and is used at the beginning of the course.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

  • Students learn about the details and subtle implications of some key mineral properties.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

  • Students examine the reliability of certain mineral properties when used for mineral identification and consider the importance of using several methods to come to conclusions during research.

Other skills goals for this activity

  • Students should learn how to identify minerals using a variety of techniques based on different mineral properties.

Description of the activity/assignment

Students examine a number of key mineral properties and how they are displayed by different minerals. Mineral properties examined include crystal habit, cleavage, parting, fracture, hardness, tenacity, specific gravity, luster, color, and streak.

Determining whether students have met the goals

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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