A New Method of Making and Observing Rock thin-sections for Classrooms

Friday 11:15-11:45am PT / 12:15-12:45pm MT / 1:15-1:45pm CT / 2:15-2:45pm ET Online


Yoshio Okamoto, Osaka-Kyoiku University (part-time)
Rock thin-sections are the essential tools for studying geology at K12 or college-level classrooms. They can change boring lectures about rocks to fascinating practices. However, due to the difficulties of preparation, there are a few attempts to use rock thin sections as teaching tools in K12 classrooms. In this regard, we try to improve such conditions using cheap, mass-produced tools, which can be purchased from DIY stores or online net shops(Okamoto, 2020b). For example, a bench grinder and a kitchen knife sharpener are used for a rock saw, and a grinder with costs less than 100USD each. Also, low-cost diamond blades and wet stones less than 30USD are employed as consumables. Our project has simplified and sophisticated the section fabrication technic to a level where even high school students can do it. At the same time, for easy watching thin sections in a classroom, we developed an alternative way instead of using high expensive polarized microscopes. Our handmade polarized units can let an ordinary microscope as a polarized one. Low-cost binocular microscopes and USB microscopes are used for this thin section watching(Okamoto, 2020a). These low-cost polarized microscopes can be used for the petrological study to identify pleochroism, interference colors, extinction angles, textures, etc.
In recent days, we are uploading many thin section images with captions as an online thin section library for school use on our website (http://www.yossi-okamoto.net/index_e.html). Also, 3D printed parts and some freeware are now improving our kit-making process and thin section photography. An overview of our methods and recent developments will be presented in the meeting.

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