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TA Notes, Second Lab (Minerals), 1405 The Dynamic Earth, Fall 2017

This information is confidential, intended only for the Geology 1405 teachers
Revised 9:40 AM, 4 September 2017

Before the lab begins...

Check to be sure that the lab is in good condition, that the correct specimens are in the labeled boxes (students sometimes switch the specimens so that the labels and the specimens no longer go together), and that everything is ready for the lab.

Direct students to put their coats, backpacks, longboards or other paraphernalia that is not essential for the lab along the edges of the lab room. Keep the emergency exit clear.

As the students are coming into the classroom, consolidate them into groups of ~3-5 folks around a given table. When all the students are in the room, the groups should have approximately equal numbers of students in them.

The Teacher's Lab Outline

It is ESSENTIAL that you get through the introductory stuff with all deliberate speed
so that students have enough time to complete the lab activities.
  1. When the start time of the lab is reached...
    1. Tell them that the goals of this lab are...
      1. help them learn how we can identify minerals based on their physical properties, and
      2. help them prepare for the mineral and rock quiz that will occur in a few weeks.
    2. Tell them that we will be spending the whole period working on Activities 3.2 through 3.5 in the lab book.
    3. There are no extra copies of the activity sheets today. If a student does not have your lab book, they need to go to the bookstore and get one.
    4. It is OK and encouraged to touch/handle the specimens in this lab; however, they must be returned to the correct labeled cardboard box.
    5. Many of the specimens do not belong to Baylor. (Many belong to me.) All are to be treated with care. They can't take any home to use as study specimens.
    6. Quickly walk around the room and briefly point-out the labeled specimens, displays, and optional activities that students should make use of.
      1. Minerals of the Mohs hardness scale
      2. Mica and mica-like minerals: black biotite, clear muscovite, pink lepidolite, and green chlorite.
        Tell them that these minerals have one direction of cleavage, and demonstrate (using muscovite or biotite) how these minerals can be separated into very thin sheets.
      3. Minerals like quartz, calcite, and fluorite that come in many different colors
      4. Sulfide minerals like galena, pyrite, chalcopyrite, bornite, and sphalerite.
        These minerals provide good examples of a metallic luster.
        Tell them that sphalerite smells like sulfur or match heads if it is scratched.
      5. Feldspar minerals: potassium feldspar, sodium- and calcium-plagioclase feldspar
      6. Elemental minerals made of just one type of atom: gold, silver, graphite (carbon), sulfur, copper.
        A microscope is available if you want to look at the gold and silver specimens up close. Show them (generally) how to turn-on (and off) the microscope light and focus the microscope.
      7. Carbonate minerals calcite and dolomite that fizz in dilute hydrochloric acid.
        Demonstrate how to drop a single drop of HCl on the specimen provided to observe the fizzing, and stress that they must rinse and dry the specimen in the sink after the experiment.
      8. A workstation where you can whack a halite grain with a hammer (gently) and produce pieces showing halite's 3 directions of cleavage.
        Demonstrate by putting on the glasses, gently whacking a grain, and observing the result.
        Reiterate that they need to wear safety glasses if they choose to do this optional activity.
      9. A display of fluorescent minerals.
        Show them how to turn-on the UV fluorescent light (separate long & short wavelength switches) and how to cup their hands around their face so they can block the room light as they look into the box
      10. A display of other important or interesting minerals.
    7. The displays around the room are to be used along with information they read in the tables in the book to help them identify minerals.

  2. Briefly introduce what each group will be doing, using words like the following:

  3. Then get them started on their activities.

  4. Determine the timing of the activities, and write the switch times on the front and back boards

  5. With 10 minutes left in the lab session (or when everyone has finished the activities), administer the post-lab survey. Announce that this post-lab survey is to be completed by each student individually, without assistance from any other student. It is a closed-book, closed-note quiz.

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