Lesson plan

Mineral testing

Test minerals for hardness, streak, with the acid test (for carbonates). Sort minerals by lustre and crystal shape.
Science content
Earth/Space: Rock cycle, Earth Materials, Natural resources (5)

Rocks may be made up of one kind of chemical, or a mixture of chemical types. The different chemical types are called minerals.
Minerals have different properties. To help identify a rock, geologists look at the minerals in it.
There are several mineral tests.

Make stations of different mineral tests for students to move through:
Two or three stations with hardness/streak - test to identify minerals
One carbonate acid test station - test carbonate and non-carbonate minerals/rocks/shells in vinegar
One crystal shape station - magnifers and microscope to look closely and find crystal shapes
One lustre station - sort unlabelled minerals by lustre

The minerals tested have different properties. Geologists use these tests to find out what minerals are in a rock they find.
As rocks go through the rock cycle, their minerals are separated by their different chemistry (for example, some melt at higher temperatures than others). Minerals are mixed together again as they sediment.
Different rocks have different mixes of minerals.

Look at the chemical formula of the minerals, which shows what atoms are in it.
Which minerals might be used for making copper wires? (copper=Cu)
Which minerals might be extracted for iron, to make steel? (iron=Fe)

The chemistry of a carbonate mineral is CO3. Carbonate rocks can be made from living things. Show limestone forming from shells.

Attached documents
Grades taught
Gr 5