Teach the Earth > Mineralogy > Teaching Activities > Mineral Classification

Mineral Classification

Joseph Smyth
University of Colorado at Boulder
Author Profile

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: Jul 8, 2009


This homework assignment challenges students to determine the chemical classification of minerals based on their chemical formula. Students must also provide the valences of the various cations for oxygen-bearing minerals.

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications



This problem set is used as the first problem set in an undergraduate mineralogy course for geology majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have a basic understanding of introductory chemistry.

How the activity is situated in the course

This problem set is a stand-alone homework assignment.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Determining classifications of minerals based on their chemical formulas
Determining valences for cations based on chemical formulas

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

This problem set challenges students to determine the chemical classification of minerals based on their chemical formula (provided). For oxygen-bearing minerals, students must also provide the valences of the various cations.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students have met the goals of this activity if they complete it correctly.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Download teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

This problem set is the 1st of 10 homework assignments used in a Mineralogy course.
You can also access the course syllabus which includes lecture Powerpoints, practice exams, and links to the other problem sets used in this course.

New TTE Logo Small

Mineralogy resources from across Teach the Earth »

Mineralogy resources from Teach the Earth include:

Specialized collections including

or search