Understanding Polyhedral Diagrams

Barb Dutrow (Louisiana State University) and Carol Ormand (SERC at Carleton College)
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Summary

In this exercise, students identify individual polyhedra in a variety of diagrams and answer questions about shared oxygens in diagrams of common silicate structures.

Learning Goals

After successfully completing this exercise, students will be able to

  • Recognize tetrahedra and octahedra in a wide variety of mineral diagrams and from a wide variety of perspectives.
  • Interpret diagrams of linked polyhedra.

Context for Use

This exercise is designed for use early in a Mineralogy course, where students will be exposed to a wide variety of diagrams of mineral structures. It is intended to help students understand those diagrams.

Description and Teaching Materials

In this exercise, students identify individual polyhedra in a variety of diagrams and answer questions about shared oxygens in diagrams of common silicate structures.

Polyhedra and shared oxygens exercise (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.1MB May12 15)

Assessment

Student understanding is assessed by grading their answers on the worksheet.

References and Resources

Students may find the paper foldout models of polyhedra available at http://www.progonos.com/furuti/MapProj/Normal/ProjPoly/Foldout/foldout.html useful.