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View Resource Testing the Hardness of Common Minerals

This activity gives students practice and a chance to develop expertise in using the test for hardness in identifying common minerals. Following a discussion and an introduction to Moh's scale, the students will work in groups to test minerals whose identities are known against their standards (common substances whose hardnesses are known). Once the known minerals have been tested, the students...

View Resource Rocks and Minerals

This guide provides introductory information about rocks and minerals. Topics include some of the common rock-forming minerals, what rocks are made of, and where they come from (the three basic rock types). There are descriptions and photos of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks, a glossary, and a simple identification chart that has links to websites with additional information.

View Resource Covellite or Chalcocite?

In this activity, students will be introduced to the concept of mineral stoichiometrics (ratios of atoms in a compound) by performing a chemical reaction between copper and sulfur, which can result in either covellite (CuS) or chalcocite (Cu2S). Working in small groups, they will heat measured amounts of copper and sulfur in a crucible until constant weight is achieved, then calculate the...

View Resource Cleavage and Fracture

In this activity, students will learn the properties of cleavage and fracture (how minerals break when struck with a hammer), and will use these properties as a diagnostic test for identifying minerals. Working in small groups, they will break a selection of specimens with a hammer, observe the results, and record their observations. A student worksheet and discussion questions are provided.

View Resource Teaching Mineralogy with Crystal Structure Databases and Visualization Software

This resource collection provides information on how to incorporate crystal structure databases and 3-D visualization software into undergraduate mineralogy courses. Features include background information for teachers on how to teach with data, models, and visualizations; commentary on the benefits of physical versus virtual models; and a set of links to online crystal structure databases. There...

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