Mineral Synthesis and X-Ray Diffraction Experiments

Dexter Perkins and Paul Sorensen
,
Univer


Summary

This 6-week laboratory activity has students working in groups of two or more to synthesize a mineral and then analyze their mineral using XRD.

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Context

Audience

This activity is designed for an undergraduate required course in mineralogy and is generally for sophomore or junior level students.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should know how to use a balance to obtain mass and have a general understanding of XRD and its data output.

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity is a stand-alone exercise, but is part of a larger volume of classroom and laboratory activities from "Teaching Mineralogy," a workbook published by the Mineralogical Society of America, Brady, J., Mogk, D. W., and Perkins, D., (editors), 1997,406 pp.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

This activity is designed to:
  • give students a better understanding of how and why mineralogical reactions occur
  • give students a practical introduction into the use of an X-ray diffractometer
  • teach students to be creative, critical and analytical in the face of confusing or ambiguous data
  • give students an understanding of, and appreciation for, the way scientists think and work.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

This activity involves data analysis.

Other skills goals for this activity

This activity aids students in operating analytical equipment and in working in groups.

Description of the activity/assignment

This 6-week laboratory activity has students working in groups of two or more to synthesize a mineral and then analyze their mineral using XRD.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students have met the goals of this activity if they synthesize a mineral and are able to analyze their results.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Brady, J., Mogk, D. W., and Perkins, D., (editors), 1997, Teaching Mineralogy, a workbook published by the Mineralogical Society of America, 406 pp.

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