Mineral Commodities

Dexter Perkins
University of North Dakota
Author Profile


This exercise introduces students to mineral commodities.

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications



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 22nd of 36 mineralogy exercises and is used towards the end of the course.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

  • Become familiar with human uses of some key mineral commodities.
  • Become familiar with some of the things that control mineral production.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

  • Be able to create and interpret graphs.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

This exercise introduces mineral commodities (elements). Students consider the elements aluminum, iron, copper, nickel, zinc, uranium, lead, gold, mercury and tin and match them with their definintions in a table. Then they use minable grade (minable weight percent) and normal crustal abundance (crustal weight percent) to calculate the concentration factor for several commodities to determine their economic minability. Students then graph their calculations and explain their trend.

Determining whether students have met the goals

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs