Marcia's Science Teaching Ideas
Marcia's Science Teaching Ideas

Teaching Mineral Identification by MJ Krech
Teaching Mineral Identification by MJ Krech
The Teaching Mineral Identification Packet is available here. Over 160 PDF pages of ready-to-run materials covering: The Chemistry of Minerals, Mineral Identification & Mining in Missouri. (Can be adapted to your state). The Packet includes everything you need, including detailed lesson plans, bellwork, worksheets, labs, tests & quizzes, manipulatives, PowerPoints,  and many Team Game suggestions you can run off on colored paper. Includes Identifying Minerals and Mining Minerals PPTs. Can be purchased as a Download or a CD. NOTE: I have several Minerals PPTs for specific states also available at no extra charge if you order the Minerals Packet. See Store Page for complete list. Will make a PPT for your state for a small charge if not already available. Several items from this Packet are also available below at NO CHARGE!
From a Teacher who'd just purchased the Minerals Packet: WOW! I have printed out everything. This is unbelievable!  I can't wait to dig into it all. I am really hoping that I am teaching science next year just so I can have fun with this stuff. Thanks again!
You are welcome to use these ideas in your classroom, within your science department, within your school district, or to distribute to any teacher who may find these lessons useful.  I only ask that:
1. You cannot sell these lessons or make a profit on them in any way.
2. You cite the lessons original source, and do not white-out the copyright footer on the pdf files
3. Do not copy and paste lessons onto your website. A link to the original is to be used.
4. Do not claim these lessons as your own work.
NOTE: This disclaimer is modeled after a couple of my favorite websites: The Science Spot and Middle School Science
. Thanks, teachers!

Chemistry of Minerals

Do a brief review of the structure of atoms; using atomic number and mass number to calculate protons, electrons, and neutrons; and element symbols. Click here for Chemistry Notes. Click here for Chemistry Worksheet. Both are a brief review, leading up to the concept of mineral chemical formulas. 
Element Symbols Our students should know about 30 symbols of elements when they get to us. So we don't do much but a quick review of the symbols. Here is a list we've compiled over the years based on which symbols show up on state tests. Click here. NOTE: Our high school chemistry teacher doesn't think we should waste our time teaching chemical symbols. He thinks they will learn them naturally when they take Chemistry as a high school student. Something to think about. Certainly worth dropping if you are pressed for time. 
Element Worksheet A good review of elements and their symbols, also atomic and mass numbers. Click here
Element Word Search Good review. There's no word list, which makes them recall learned element names from the symbols because the Periodic Table I give them is symbols only. Click here. 
Mineral or NonMineral Lab? Assemble sandwich baggies with minerals and nonminerals; such as chalk, small tube of water, a few minerals, sea shell, pottery shard, shark tooth, etc. The Labsheet asks them to name each item, state if mineral or non mineral, and list the reason why. At the top of the page is the list of the five main criteria for calling something a mineral.  Click here for a worksheet from Science Spot. Click here for more information on this topic.
Mineral Identification Prelab Before starting "The Big Lab" of mineral identification, use your text to write questions about the main properties of minerals, such as: color, luster, fracture, cleavage, special properties, etc. Emphasize that this much be completed before they will be allowed to participate in "The Big Lab." Click here for my version based on Heath Earth Science.
The BIG Mineral Identification Lab Usually contains a chart for students to fill out as they attempt to identify unknown minerals using mineral properties as their clues.  You can number the minerals so they are done in a certain order or just let them identify in any order they choose. Depending on what test kit tools you have, make column titles like: color, hardness, streak, etc. Click here for a good website for ideas.
Sedimentary, My Dear Watson Click here for a great online quiz on minerals, despite the title. "First question: "Minerals are not rocks. True or False." If you can project onto a big-screen T.V. in your classroom, this can be used for the whole class as a good class starter or review. From the San Diego Natural History Museum.
"Show Me the Mineral!" Game After "The Big Lab" in which your students have identified several minerals, review the names, uses, and properties of these minerals with this game. Each team listens carefully to your clue, such as: "Show me the mineral that has a hardness of 6," or, "Show me the mineral that is Missouri's State Mineral," or, "Show me the mineral that is used to make wallboard." Each team picks out the mineral they think answers the question, sends a member up to the teacher, hiding their mineral in their hand, then reveals the mineral when the teacher says, "Show me the Mineral!" Point for each team that picks the correct mineral.
Mineral Bingo Game Print out Bingo Cards and have the students write in the names of the minerals you are studying. Give each pair a tray of minerals. Then say, "Match the mineral with a hardness of 6 on its name." Or, "Place the mineral that is the main ingredient in talcum powder on its name." The pair quietly puts the mineral on the correct name. When they get a "Bingo," check to see if the names match the minerals. Great fun! I have a big bag of wrapped candies for prizes.
Mineral Use Puzzle A great game that involves finding your matching use or mineral(rock) partner. Hand out cards with mineral names or uses and let students walk around searching for their partner. 
Minerals and Mining
Jeopardy Game
Make up a "Jeopardy" type game for team competition. About four categories is enough, 5 questions per category. Arrange questions with answers in column underneath flaps. A regular-size foam core board works great. Tape half an 8x11 sheet of paper on the top to make the flaps and put questions underneath the flaps, answers underneath the questions. Kids love this game!
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Created by MJKrech