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LEARNING MINERAL AND ROCK IDENTIFICATION
THROUGH DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES
A. Main topics
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Geology
Mineralogy
Mineral and Rock identification techniques
B. Targeted audience
The teaching guides are suited for 9 - 13 years old students
C. Key concepts
1. Geology
Geology is the study of the planet Earth—the materials of which our planet is made,
the processes that act on these materials, the products formed, and the history of the
planet and its life forms since its origin.
2. Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring substance, representable by a chemical formula, that
is usually solid and inorganic, and has a crystal structure. It is different from a rock,
which can be an aggregate of minerals or non-minerals and does not have a specific
chemical composition. The study of minerals is called mineralogy.
3. Rock
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of one or more
minerals or mineraloids. For example, the common rock granite is a combination of the
quartz, feldspar and biotite minerals
4. Ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains sufficient minerals with important elements
including metals that can be economically extracted from the rock. The ores are
extracted from the earth through mining; they are then refined (often via smelting) to
extract the valuable element, or elements.
5. Physiographic methods
Mineral identification techniques based on a macroscopic observation of different
characteristics such as crystallization, hardness, color, scratch, brightness,
transparency, magnetism, specific weigh.
6. Chemical methods
Mineral identification techniques based on a qualitative analysis of the chemical
composition by using certain laboratory instruments and procedures such as the
Bunsen burner, the Welding torch, the mortar, the coal test, the closed pipe test, the
opened pipe test, the flame test and the anion and cation recognition test.
Physical methods
Mineral identification techniques based on petrographic microscope analysis, X-ray
diffraction analysis and refractometer analysis.
D. Experimental activity :
Firstly, the students are given an interactive application where they can read, click,
and observe, etc. the different techniques used for rock and mineral identification. The
application has also a module to simulate the different recognition techniques on
different minerals so that the student can obtain the results as if they were making the
techniques in situ by themselves.
Each time they apply the different techniques on the minerals, they receive certain
results that they can write down on a work notebook of their own. In this way, we
make sure they do not lose the information they get from the program since they have
to write it. Besides, the program just shows the information given by every technique
about the mineral you are analysing at that moment. Once you change the mineral,
the information of the previous one is lost. This is the reason why the students need to
write it down and besides they will create a personal workbook with the main
characteristics of a certain Mineral or Rock. This workbook can be consulted by other
students.
The workbook they create is an A5 notebook in which every mineral is described
following the results of the different techniques obtained from the application. The
students are free to colour, write, glue, etc whatever they think they need to complete
the workbook. They can divide the different pages as they consider for a better access
to the different minerals and the recognition techniques results. Obviously, they are
given some instructions of the minimum information they need to provide for every
mineral.
E. Toolkit material
 Executable application
 Copies of workbooks done by other students
 Some minerals
 Instructions of the minimum information required to identify a mineral
F. For information on the toolkit
Dr…Cristina Montalvo and Dr Liliana Medic……………
e-mail [email protected]
e-mail: [email protected]