Identifying minerals - use your sense(s)! - by doing this activity pupils can appreciate that we use several senses in identifying unknown objects, often without realising it. They will be encouraged to use a range of tests on minerals and not to rely on snap judgements based on sight alone. They will have to learn to work co-operatively when many in the group are disadvantaged by being blindfolded. Also they must memorise the properties of several minerals by carrying out tests themselves.
This activity reinforces that minerals are substances of well-defined
composition which have reliable physical properties. They form the “building blocks” of rocks, and it is useful to acquire some understanding of them.
Many thanks to Daniel Reis and fellow students studying for Masters’ degrees in Biology and Geology at the University of Oporto, Portugal who sent us the idea for this activity.
Can you send us another good idea?
This is one of many practical, innovative and enjoyable activities on our website. We publish a new activity every two weeks. Your suggestions, ideas and comments are always welcome - comment on this post or email us.