Teaching Mineralogy

An understanding of mineralogy is very important for a traditional "hard rock" geologist. But it is also important for those interested in other aspects of geoscience such as environmental geology or the connections between geology and human health. This collection of digital resources for teaching mineralogy at the undergraduate level is designed for faculty to use while designing new courses, enhancing existing courses, or simply looking for new ideas in teaching mineralogy. Students will also find this collection helpful for finding supplemental study materials and for doing research projects in mineralogy.

Course Design & Pedagogy | Resource Collections | Special Topics | Events | Get Involved

Designing an Effective Mineralogy Course

1. Set goals

Learn more about setting effective course goals in the Course Design Tutorial. Browse course descriptions and syllabi to understand the range of mineralogy courses currently offered.

2. Consider assessment options

Aligning your assessment strategies with the goals of your course is an essential part of the design process. You can learn more about assessment in the section about Assessing Student Learning in the Course Design Tutorial and through our module on Observing and Assessing Student Learning.

3. Select pedagogies and specific teaching activities

The pedagogic techniques highlighted below can provide inspiration as you consider various approaches that will help you achieve your course goals. The resource collections are organized to provide a rich set of materials to draw from in constructing the specific set of learning experiences you want for your students. Finally, explore the more in-depth information and ideas available in special topics.

Selected Pedagogical Approaches
View a selection of pedagogies that lend themselves to skill development in mineralogy. A selection of general pedagogies that lend themselves to the geosciences are found in the Teaching Methods area.

  • Teaching Mineral Symmetry Using Kinesthetic Learning: An extensive set of pages about how to teach crystal symmetry through traditional American dances, including annotated video clips of the choreography and audio clips that you can use in your classroom.
  • Teaching Mineralogy with Crystal Structure Databases and Visualization Software: This site, from Integrating Research and Education, will help educators to appreciate the benefits and challenges of using crystal structure databases in their mineralogy courses; locate potentially-useful crystal structure databases, highlighting differing strengths, features, ease of use, and potential educational applications; download, contribute, and comment on examples of how crystal structure databases can be applied in educational settings and activities (e.g., lectures, problem sets, in-class exercises, lab exercises, student research projects, etc.).

Resource Collections
Once you've identified the core learning goals for your course, you can use them to focus your search for relevant materials in our resource collections. The materials listed below reflect the contributions of faculty members from across the country.

Special Topics


Get Involved

  • Contribute materials: We encourage faculty to contribute course descriptions, teaching activities, and references to continue to build our collections.
  • Email lists: Join the MSA-Talk email list, hosted by the Mineralogical Society of America, or the Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry email list to take part in discussions with colleagues who teach those topics.
  • Visit the Mineralogy-Petrology-Geochemistry discussion board to submit your recommendations to identify the most significant contributions made in these fields to the geosciences, the larger scientific enterprise and to society. Post a new topic or add to existing topics to create a threaded archive to demonstrate the relevance, importance and centrality of mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry to the geosciences and beyond.

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