Private Mineral Project

Dexter Perkins
University of North Dakota
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Students begin to work on semester-long private mineral projects.

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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 and be able to identify minerals based on their physical properties.

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity is the 6th of 36 mineralogy exercises. Students should begin this long exercise towards the beginning of the course.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

  • Learn just about everything about one particular mineral.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

  • Synthesize many different sorts of information to create a complete picture.

Other skills goals for this activity

  • Introduce working with graphics, digital images, and fundamental web page creation.
  • Learn to prepare a formal manuscript for publication.

Description of the activity/assignment

In this semester-long private mineral project, students become experts on one mineral. They write a paper about their mineral and use key information about it to publish a web page. Information should include provenance, physical properties, composition, recent related literature, photos of samples, optical properties, x-ray pattern, crystallography, economic value, atomic structure, other closely related minerals, associated myths, and a complete list of references based on GSA format.

Determining whether students have met the goals

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs