A 32-slide Power point introduces students to formation of minerals and their properties. Students complete the guided notes page as they follow along. Two lab experiences are included: growing salt and Epsom salt crystals for examination, and a rotating station lab where students will practice their skills at describing the properties of minerals, and identifying minerals. You must have a supply of your own minerals in order to complete the identification lab. Also included is a short, open-ended 4-question quiz for evaluation.
Objective: By the end of this lesson, students will be able to describe the formation of minerals; describe physical properties of real minerals, such as color, luster, and streak; grow their own crystals and describe their properties; properly use a Mineral Identification Chart (not included) in order to identify unknown specimens of minerals.
The lesson is appropriate for a high school earth science class. The time needed to complete all activities would be about 4-5 regular class periods, or 2-3 block periods.
Engage the students by letting them grow their own crystals for observation. Students will complete a data sheet and analysis as they observe properties of their crystals. They will not be able to observe the properties until the crystals 'grow', which usually takes 2-3 days. I realize there are many such activities available online, but this one is written in a standard lab format, to include a data table, and challenging analysis questions. Most of these online activities are geared towards young children, and do not use appropriate scientific terms and measurements like the one developed for this product.
The next activity is the 32-slide power point with accompanying notes page for the students to complete. You may want them to refer to these notes as they complete the station activity where they will be identifying properties of minerals.
The station activity is appropriate if you have a supply of minerals on hand. There are 7 stations for the students to visit. Each station, except for #7, focuses on a certain property: luster, color, streak, hardness, breakage, and crystal shape. Station 7 is 'putting it all together', where students are given unknown minerals, and must use what they have learned to identify the minerals, using a Mineral Identification Chart. I have not included one since they are widely available. You will need supplies such as streak plates, and items that test for hardness, such as pennies and glass plates.
If you choose to, you may want to use the quick, 4-question assessment as a quiz, or Exit ticket, or even just use it for a partner review.
Upon completion of this mini-lesson, your students should have a basic knowledge of minerals, how to identify them, and the tools necessary for such.