The Wow Factor: Cutting Rocks to Engage Students

Monday 1:30pm-4:00pm
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Kyle Fredrick, Pennsylvania Western University - California
Elisabeth Ervin-Blankenheim, Front Range Community College
Daniel Harris, Pennsylvania Western University - California

Many of our students, including non-majors already bring an interest in rocks, crystals, or gems to their introductory-level geoscience classes. But traditional geology labs tend to focus on rock and mineral identification, without emphasizing what draws students to them in the first place.  By incorporating a relatively inexpensive rock saw and standard safety protocols into your geology class, it is possible to build engaging labs that leverage students childhood wonder to explore minerals' crystal form and hardness, and mineral composition of rocks.  We'll demonstrate rock-cutting with standard, low-cost lapidary saws, and we ask participants to bring their own samples to see what's inside!  Safety goggles will be provided.  Also, bear in mind that rock-saws can be wet and dirty, so prepare with that in mind.