PURPOSE OF THE INVESTIGATIONS: You have been hired by the Know-Whin Investment Corporation to determine the value of a mineral deposit located on a piece of land they are considering buying. The Corporation has supplied you with six bags of mineral samples their agents have collected from the land. Each bag contains multiple samples of the same mineral. Although the samples in each single bag may vary somewhat in appearance, they are the same mineral. Because they are the same mineral, all the samples in a single bag have the same identification number. Your task is to determine the name of the mineral that each bag contains. That is, you need to determine the name of the mineral that each of the six numbers represents.

METHOD OF INVESTIGATION:
1. Find the numbers of the minerals you personally have been assigned.
  Click here to find mineral numbers.

2. Print out the materials needed for this investigation.
  Click here to link to the Print and Form Shop.

3. Identify and name the minerals you have been assigned by determining their properties. The Properties of Minerals Resource Table shown on the right will enable you determine up to eight properties of the samples. For each property, the Table provides you with three links. The links give you access to:

  1. "What is...?" - an explanation of the property.
  2. Exercises - that include instructions on how to use the property Testing Lab.
  3. The Testing Lab - a 'virtual' scientific lab that allows you to investigate that property of your samples.

For each property, follow the three links provided. Make sure to read the explanation and instructions carefully before visiting the Testing Lab.

TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY?

PROPERTIES OF MINERALS
RESOURCE TABLE

HARDNESS
  WHAT IS HARDNESS?
  HARDNESS EXERCISES
  HARDNESS TESTING LAB
COLOR
  WHAT IS COLOR?
  COLOR EXERCISE 1
  COLOR TESTING LAB
STREAK
  WHAT IS STREAK?
  STREAK EXERCISE 1
  STREAK TESTING LAB
BREAKAGE
  WHAT IS BREAKAGE?
  BREAKAGE EXERCISE 1
  BREAKAGE TESTING LAB
CRYSTALS
  WHAT IS A CRYSTAL?
  CRYSTAL EXERCISE 1
  CRYSTAL TESTING LAB
DENSITY
  WHAT IS DENSITY?
  DENSITY EXERCISE 1
  DENSITY TESTING LAB
MISCELLANEOUS
VISUAL PROPERTIES
  WHAT ARE THEY?
  EXERCISE 1
  TESTING LAB
MISCELLANEOUS
NON-VISUAL PROPERTIES
  WHAT ARE THEY?
  EXERCISE 1
  TESTING LAB

RECORDING YOUR MINERAL PROPERTIES RESULTS:
You will determine up to eight key properties of each mineral by visiting each of the eight Testing Labs. For any of your mineral samples whose numbers are listed in that Testing Lab, perform the indicated tests.

  • Do not be concerned if one or more of your minerals are not present in every Testing Lab. Each mineral will be present in enough Testing Labs to allow you determine its identity.

  • In some Testing Labs, two or more examples of the same mineral may be present. If so, you should examine them all and enter their properties in the Worksheet. For example, if a mineral has several colors, enter them all in the box on the Worksheet.

Record the results of the tests on printouts MN-1 and MN-2 (the 'Mineral Properties Worksheet, parts A and B').

If you performed the Preliminary Investigation (Minerals Part - I), you have already determined 'hardness'. However, you need to transfer your hardness results (both as a letter - H, I or S - and as a number) from Answer Sheet (MN-3) to the Hardness Column in Mineral Properties Worksheet, Part A (MN-1).

For instructions on how to use the Mineral Properties Worksheet, click on the yellow button to the right.

The properties and the identity of a mineral are determined by its chemical composition and the pattern in which the atoms are arranged. So, how is it possible for a particular mineral species, such as quartz, to have a wide range of appearances and still be the same mineral (and in our investigation, to retain the same identifying number)?
HINT: Review 'What is Color' and revisit 'Crystal City'.)

IDENTIFYING YOUR MINERALS:
When you have performed the tests and recorded the results, you will determine the mineral names of your samples. This will be done by comparing the properties of your samples to the properties of minerals listed on the Mineral Identification Charts. There are eight Charts corresponding to the eight properties in the Mineral Properties Resource Table. Your task will be easier if you have printed out copies of the Charts.

For instructions on how to use the Mineral Identification Charts, click on the yellow button to the right.

Use the 'Mineral Properties Answer Checking Table' to make sure you have successfully identified your assigned minerals' properties. Then, use the Mineral Identification Answer Checking Table to make sure you have assigned the correct names to your minerals.
  INSTRUCTIONS
  Click here to link to the Mineral Properties Answer Checking Table.
  Click here to link to the Mineral ID Answer Checking Table.

WHAT YOU NEED TO SUBMIT:

  • A filled-in copy of Mineral Properties Submission Form MN-S1.

Copy and paste the entire Mineral Properties Submission Form (MN-S1) into an email.

COLLABORATION:
You are encouraged to collaborate with other students both in testing your samples and deciding on mineral names.


© 2010, David Leveson/Revised by G. Rocha and Michelle O'Dea