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Title: Mineral Identification
Level:  K-12
Day/Time:

Academic Expectations
Core Content for Assessment:

Objective:

The purpose of this activity is to teach the student to identify minerals from its physical properties. This is accomplished through observation and testing of the minerals involved.

Activity:

  1. Set up mineral stations for each mineral the students are to identify. If necessary, some stations may have two minerals to identify.

  2. Each station should be equipped with one each of the following items:

    • Eye dropper bottle of vinegar or 10% solution of HCL (Hydrochloric acid)
    • Glass plate
    • Penny
    • Streak plate (white unglazed porcelain)
    • Magnet
    • Steel blade or knife
  3. Divide students into equal groups. Have the number of student groups match the number of mineral stations.

  4. Distribute to each student a Mineral Worksheet and Mineral Background sheet. Have students read the Mineral Background sheet.

  5. Have student groups move to the mineral stations with one group of students at each station. Have the students perform the physical property tests listed on the Mineral Background sheet. Have students record the test results on the Mineral Worksheet.

  6. Rotate the student groups through each of the work stations, performing the tests at each station. Allow 3 to 5 minutes per mineral per station.

  7. Handout Mineral Identification Sheets.

  8. Have students compare their test results with the Mineral Identification sheet. Can the students correctly name each of the minerals using their test results? Write the name of the mineral on the Mineral Worksheet.

The students learned to perform tests for physical properties of minerals, observe the test results and then identify a mineral using the test results.

MINERAL BACKGROUND SHEET

The following is a description of the Physical Properties that are used to identify minerals:

Smell

Luster

Chemical

Magnetic

Color

Streak

Feel - Texture of the mineral

Hardness - Moh’s Scale

HardnessMineral scratched by
1
2Fingernail
3
4Penny
5Steel (knife blade)
6Glass
7-10Mineral will scratch steel/glass

Weight

 

MINERAL WORKSHEET

SAMPLE #

COLOR

STREAK

FEEL

SMELL

LUSTER

MAGNETIC

CHEMICAL

HARDNESS

WEIGHT

          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          

 

Adapted from materials provided by Women In Mining