Minerals

Mineral

Minerals are amazing things. They naturally form crystals that would challenge the skills of a jeweler. They are the main components of most of the rocks that form the Earth, and they are the raw materials that give us metals, glass, concrete, and many other materials that we depend on every day. They are also the first step we will take in exploring the science of geology. We need to understand minerals to understand rocks, and understanding rocks is necessary to understanding the way the Earth works.

Be sure to check the Mineral Resources page for materials list, suggested reading, where to get specimens, etc.

Overview:

What is a Mineral?

The first step will be to explore the definition of a mineral, which may lead to some surprises. In the world of science, the word "mineral" has a very specific meaning, which is often very different from the way it is used in everyday language.

Identifying Minerals

Once you know what a mineral is, then we will explore some of the tests that are used to identify minerals, including:

Each has a short video to introduce the test, followed by information and activities to polish your skills, and help you learn to identify mineral specimens.

Minerals Around you

Look around you. How many of the objects that you see are made from minerals? In this section, we will look at some important, economic minerals, and see how they are used.

Crystals

How can a random assortment of molecules naturally form such beautiful and precise geometric shapes? In this section, we will explore the different ways that crystals form, measure their angles, and even grow some crystals of our own.

Mineral Resources

Once you finish the Minerals unit, then you can continue your exploration of the science of geology with the Rocks unit.