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This site contains a mineral database with access to 4,339 individual mineral species descriptions with links and a comprehensive image library. Mineral data on individual species are linked to a mineral table by crystallography, X-Ray powder diffraction, chemical composition, physical and optical properties, Danas new classification, Strunz classification, mineral specimen images, and alphabetical ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14), College (15-16)
Resource type: Illustration - scientific, Photograph, Ref. material
Subject: Mineralogy or petrology
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This activity is designed to demystify rock identification by illustrating how most common rocks can easily be classified and named by asking and answering simple scientific questions. Students will discover that the formation of rocks occurs by processes that take place over different timescales, and that the mode of formation determines their texture and the minerals they contain. Students will ... Full description.
Grade level: Intermediate (3-5), Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Lab activity
Subject: Mineralogy or petrology
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This activity relates to the process of igneous rock formation by the cooling of magma. It can be used to illustrate how the rate at which molten rock cools affects the size of the crystals that form within the solid rock - rapid cooling producing small crystals, slower cooling producing larger ones. Hot, saturated solutions of lead iodide are cooled at different rates. The solution that cools faster ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Lab activity, Glossary
Subject: Mineralogy or petrology
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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In this activity, students match photographs of igneous rocks with descriptions of their formation. There are also two teacher demonstrations that will help students to identify pumice and volcanic ash with graded bedding. Other pictures and descriptions are of breccia, columnar jointing in a basaltic lava flow, coarse grained granite, and phenocrysts in a porphyry. At the end of the activity students ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Classroom activity, Presentation / Demo
Subject: Mineralogy or petrology
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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These activities are aimed at simulating metamorphic rock formation, and explain how increased pressure and heat affect such formation. The first activity, which can also be performed as a teacher demonstration, simulates the idea of contact metamorphism by investigating the effect of heat from a beaker of hot water on egg white. The other two laboratory activities simulate the formation of slate ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Lab activity, Lesson plan
Subject: Mineralogy or petrology
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This activity will allow students to simulate the formation of sedimentary rocks by compressing sand, water, and other materials in a syringe. The products are allowed to dry, and students will investigate how the properties of the samples of sedimentary rocks so formed are dependent on the extent of their compaction and cementation. The activity will help to explain that for most sediments to become ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Lab activity
Subject: Mineralogy or petrology
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This activity is concerned with crystals, the basic building units that make up rocks and minerals. Students construct a model of the silicon-oxygen tetrahedron and discover that the smallest whole unit that could form a unique crystal is called a unit cell. They learn that a unit cell would have all the properties of a large crystal such as a diamond, but would be only molecular size (submicroscopic). ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Lab activity
Subject: Mineralogy or petrology
 
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In this activity, students measure the specific gravity of rocks and equate it to density. There are instructions for modifying the balance to be able to weigh the rocks in water. There are also several suggestions about how to use the data and the kinds of graphs that can be made. The site has a list of materials, detailed instructions, and examples of charts and graphs. Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Lab activity
Subject: Mineralogy or petrology
 
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In this activity, students classify cookies as if they were classifying rocks. They work in groups to assign at least ten different kinds of cookies to either igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic groups. The students have to justify their decisions based on the physical characteristics of the cookies. Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Classroom activity
Subject: Mineralogy or petrology
 
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This report explains how the NIST test wall was constructed to study the performance and durability of various building stones under uniform climatic conditions. It was built by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 1948 and is currently located at their facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Users may read and see pictures of the wall's physical features, its orientation, and ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Photograph, Ref. material
Subject: Mineralogy or petrology
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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