Understanding Mineral Cleavage via Gestures

Barb Dutrow (Louisiana State University), Kinnari Atit (Temple University) and Carol Ormand (SERC at Carleton College)
Author Profile

Summary

In this exercise, students use gesture to convey information about mineral cleavage and the relationship between crystal structures and cleavage planes.

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications

Learning Goals

After successfully completing this exercise, students will be able to use gesture to convey information about mineral cleavage and the relationship between crystal structures and cleavage planes.

Context for Use

This exercise is intended for use when students are introduced to or are reviewing mineral cleavage and how cleavage depends on bond strengths within the mineral structure.

Description and Teaching Materials


Students gesture the orientations of cleavage planes for samples of a number of common minerals. They then do the same for a ball-and-stick model of a silicate mineral of their choice. Each pair (or group) of students needs samples of mica, pyroxene, amphibole, galena or halite, and calcite or gypsum, all of which show good cleavage.

Mineral cleavage exercise (Microsoft Word 41kB May12 15)

Assessment

The instructor walks around the room and verbally quizzes students as they are doing the exercise to assess their understanding.

References and Resources

Goldin-Meadow, Susan (2011). Learning Through Gesture . Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, v. 2, n. 6, pp. 595–607.

Using Gesture to Support Spatial Thinking highlights the value of gesture in communicating spatial information. It consists of two short exercises, and can be used in preparation for any other exercise in which students will be asked to use gesture to communicate spatial information.