Initial Publication Date: October 16, 2014

Assessment of Module Goals

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Overarching Module Assessments

Summative Assessments

Assessment Pre-Module Mineral Concept Map Exercise: An Overall Module Assessment

Concept Map of One Mineral Resource

The overarching concept map assignment should be assigned on the first day of the module. Students will start to draw a concept map regarding one mineral resource they choose. They will add to the concept map throughout the two weeks of the module and submit their completed map the final day. Although having students (or student groups) each choose a different mineral will make grading more time consuming, the students get to apply the concepts to a specific mineral; this application reinforces learning. Students also must think about their own use of specific minerals. Finally, the concept maps can be shared (either posted around the class, posted online, or just shared in small groups) so that students can learn about more than one specific resource. Before assigning this, please read 'How to Use the Concept Map Rubric' linked below.

Overarching Concept Map Assessment Assignment in Word (Microsoft Word 125kB Oct8 14) and in PDF. (Acrobat (PDF) 53kB Oct8 14)

More information about Concept Maps. This might be particularly helpful to an instructor who is unfamiliar with using concept maps at all or as assessment tools.

Sample Concept Map---Halite. (Acrobat (PDF) 573kB Nov4 14) This will help the students start to get to know what concept maps look like and what goes into them (concept maps are used a number of times in the module). An ideal way to use this example concept map would be to fill out portions of it as a class on the first day, including that halite is a mineral and its uses. When sedimentary rocks are covered in class, the concept map can be added to, with information about how halite forms, how it is mined, and consequences of its mining.

Rubric for the Overarching Concept Map Assessment Assignment in Word (Microsoft Word 125kB Oct8 14) and in PDF. (Acrobat (PDF) 58kB Oct8 14)

How to Use the Concept Map Rubric in Word (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 47kB Oct8 14) and in PDF. (Acrobat (PDF) 117kB Oct8 14)

Two Exam Questions Designed to Cover Topics from the Entire Module

and These are the same questions that appear below.

and for the two exam questions below:

Question 1.

Sphalerite is a sulfide mineral (ZnS). Zinc is extracted from sphalerite. Several zinc mines exist in Tennessee. Most of the zinc mines in Tennessee are underground mines, as opposed to open-pit mines

1a. Imagine you are the project manager of a mining company that might be interested in establishing an underground zinc mine in Tennessee. Describe at least two geologic, one socioeconomic, and two environmental factors other than acid mine drainage that you need to consider for locating a suitable mine site in Tennessee. Explain why each factor is important for establishing the mine.

1b. As the project manager, what measure(s) would you take to prevent acid mine drainage from occurring? What measure(s) would you take to mitigate acid mine drainage if it does happen despite your precautions? Explain your answer for both situations.

1c. The above graph shows the price variation for zinc (in cents per pound) over the last ten years. Assuming all other controlling factors except for price of zinc remain the same, how might the price change between 2003 and 2007 affect zinc mining? Explain your answer.

1d. In 2011, an existing zinc mining company is considering reprocessing the waste rock from their dump sites to extract zinc. Refer to the attached graph for the previous question and explain whether this decision would (a) increase the profit margin for the company, (b) benefit the environment, and (c) create jobs/improve local economy. Explain your answer by addressing all three.

Question 2

Borate minerals are the main source of the element boron. Boron is used to make a wide variety of things, such as glass fibers used in insulation, fiberglass components for aircrafts and speedboats, fertilizers, detergents, and glass cookware like pie plates.

Borates crystallize and deposit as evaporation dries out shallow, inland lakes. These processes created the large deposits of borates shown in Map 1. Map 2 shows the average global rainfall per year (in mm, or millimeters).

2a. Based on these two maps, what can you infer about the climatic conditions necessary for creating large borate deposits? Explain why there should be a link between climate and borate locations.

2b. Based on what you know about borates from the information provided in this question, what type of rock-forming process (igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic) is responsible for creating these borate deposits? Explain your answer.

2c. Most commercial borate deposits are commonly mined by open-pit (AKA surface mining) methods, where the ore is blasted first, then dug up and taken to the processing plants using large front-loader trucks. Based on what you have learned in this course, describe two potential environmental impacts of large-scale borate mining operations.

2d. According to USGS 2013 Mineral Commodities Summary for Boron, "boron consumption in the global fiberglass industry was projected to increase by 7% annually through 2013, spurred by a projected 19% increase in Chinese consumption." The above graph shows boron production trends for selected countries including China for 2007--2012.

To meet their rising demand for boron, China may either produce more boron, import it from another country, or create a replacement material (or a combination of all three).

(a) If China did import boron, where do you think they should import it from (explain your answer), using information from this question?

(b) What factors might influence which course China takes in relation to increasing their own production, importing it, or using a replacement material (as related to class material)?

Unit Assessments

Possible Exam Questions for the Different Units

Note: Rubrics for these unit assessments are presented on the individual unit pages.