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Upper School Corner - Mrs. McKenna Harkins

Thursday, 12 November, 2015 - 1:31 pm

Earth Science Blog Post: Minerals

As the middle school Earth Science classes have metaphorically dug into Earth Science this quarter, students have been literally digging into their content. Throughout the last two weeks, students have been studying the rocks and minerals present on Earth’s surface.

After students learned about the various qualities that determine whether an object is a mineral, students had to put their knowledge to the test. Faced with minerals of unknown identity, students had to integrate their conceptual knowledge, problem-solving skills, and laboratory experience to test various properties of the objects. As they circulated the classroom, students visited various stations where they tested the minerals and identified the color, luster, mass, volume, hardness, and fracture of each sample. We then came together as a class and compared and analyzed our results: did all groups obtain similar data? Did any group has a set of data that contradicted the class data? If so, what led to that anomaly? Finally, students completed thought-provoking questions that challenged them to consider various methods of organizing and classifying minerals.

These hands-on experiences are vital to students as they connect with the content in a very tangible way. Instead of simply learning the properties of minerals through a PowerPoint, students worked with the minerals directly to develop their skills as a mineralogist.

Mendel Andrusier visits various stations to determine various properties of minerals.

7th and 8th Grade boys record their data during the Mineral Identification Lab.

Mendel Berkowitz, Joey Hertzberg, and Sholom Eilfort utilize triple beam balances to determine the mass of various minerals.

Shmuly Sufrin and Eli Greenberg utilize a triple beam balance to determine the mass of a mineral.

Mrs. McKenna Harkins

Upper School Science Teacher 

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