2011 MPG workshop

Workshop Overview

Note: This workshop has already taken place. See the workshop programfor links to presentations, discussions, and other material from the workshop.

This workshop provided opportunities to develop our understanding of best practices in teaching mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry, and to share our successful strategies and activities.

Workshop Goals

The goals of the workshop were to:

  • Develop an integrated, comprehensive and reviewed curriculum for teaching mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry, and to seek ways to make connections with the larger geoscience curriculum and emerging topics (e.g. geobiology, climate change);
  • Explore effective methods of teaching mineralogy, igneous petrology, metamorphic petrology, and geochemistry in the context of Earth systems;
  • Share and discuss effective teaching activities for the classroom, laboratory, and field, including new advances in pedagogy, assessments, and research on learning;
  • Keep faculty current on recent advances in mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry research and to apply these findings to our teaching;
  • Explore and utilize current societal and global issues that intersect mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry to heighten the relevancy of course content for students; and
  • Meet colleagues and foster future teaching and research collaborations.

Workshop activities included presentations, demonstrations of teaching activities, large and small group discussions, and working group sessions. Instructional materials and other information will be organized and compiled as collections of digital resources for use in mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry courses and across the geoscience curriculum.


The workshop began at 5 PM on Sunday, August 7, 2011, and ended after dinner on Wednesday, August 10, 2011. Participants must attend all sessions. There was also an optional field trip, August 11-13.


Participants were expected to:

  • Serve on a review committee from February to May, 2011, applying standardized review criteria to teaching activities in the On the Cutting Edge mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry activity collections. We anticipate that everyone will be asked to review ~5 activities using an on-line review form.
  • Submit additional teaching activities as needed that complement the existing collection, prior to the workshop. Our goal is to have a comprehensive, reviewed collection of teaching activities ready to showcase at the summer workshop.
  • Prepare in advance for workshop discussions via readings, writings, discussion or other activities developed by workshop leaders.
  • Participate fully in the entire workshop. Many participants will be invited to make presentations or serve as discussion or working group leaders at the workshop.
  • Post-workshop: continue to network with workshop participants, share workshop resources with colleagues across the geosciences, and participate in follow-on activities such as making presentations at theme sessions at professional society meetings.


There was a workshop registration fee of $50 to reserve your place at the workshop. Please note that participants or their home institutions must pay for transportation to and from the workshop, housing (dormitory and local hotels options will be available), and most meals (breakfast and lunches will be on your own at local restaurants close to campus). Workshop resources, facilities and two catered dinners will be covered by a grant from the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education. In planning this workshop, we have attempted to minimize workshop costs so that this event will be accessible to the most people. Please note that the real price of admission is your willingness to contribute to review and submission of teaching activities to support the workshop goals. In cases where the financial cost of the workshop is a barrier to participation, we will be able to offer stipends to help defray workshop expenses. For more information about these funds please visit the workshop stipends page. Deadline for applications for stipends was February 25, 2011.

Application and Selection Criteria

Applications were due January 15, 2011. The workshop was limited to 80 participants. The final list of participants was established with the goal of assembling a group with expertise in teaching mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry, as well as a spectrum of institutional settings and teaching experiences, and a diversity of participants. Preference was given to applicants who hold faculty positions at colleges and universities. Applicants were notified of selection in early February. For more information see our page on general information for Cutting Edge workshop participants.


The workshop was held at the Department of Geology & Geophysics at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, in Minneapolis, MN. Participants arranged their own housing; information about options was sent out with workshop acceptance notifications. Participants were on their own for meals, except for dinners at the beginning and end of the workshop. We provided information about local restaurant options.

Post-Workshop Field Trip

Subduction, Rifting, and Impacts: Classic Precambrian Field Localities of Northern Minnesota

Dates: Thursday - Saturday, August 11-13, 2010
Field Trip Leaders: Karl Wirth, Dexter Perkins and others

The field trip visited classic Precambrian localities of northern Minnesota. Possible field trip stops included an Archean granite-greenstone terrane in the Superior Province, Paleoproterozoic foreland basin sediments (Animikie Group), and intrusive, volcanic, and sedimentary sequences of the Mesoproterozoic Midcontinent Rift. Related activities may include visits to spectacular folded banded iron formation and an underground tour of the High Energy Physics Lab at Soudan, MN, an active open-pit iron mine near Virginia, a hike through layered mafic intrusive rocks of the Sonju Lake Intrusion, well-preserved Proterozoic pahoehoe structures in lava flows along the shores of Lake Superior, recently discovered sedimentary deposits from the Sudbury impact structure, and much more! Field trip activities focused on teaching and learning in a field setting.

For More Information

Please contact Carol Ormand (cormand@carleton.edu) or Dave Mogk (mogk@montana.edu).

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