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Mystery Minerals

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Mystery Minerals + ward ' s science Recommended Grade Level(s): Appropriate for: High School, Middle School, Elementary Time Requirements: Activity Time: 5–10 minutes Teaching Topics & Concepts: Physical Properties of Minerals/ Mineral Identification • Moh's hardness scale • Students will get an understanding of tests that help identify minerals. Materials: • Ward's Mineral Test Kit • Mystery Minerals: Apatite, Calcite, Pyrite, Gypsum, Lodestone, Hematite, Limestone, Sandstone. Hydrochloric acid .1M Safety • Wear safety glasses, gloves and lab coat or apron. ! Background All rocks on earth are composed of varying amounts, sizes, and mixtures of minerals, organic materials, and other components that tell a story about its formation and the geologic processes at work when it formed. To read this story, students must first learn how to identify the minerals. Five diagnostic properties of minerals that will help identification are color, hardness, luster, shape, and density. Once students have observed these different properties, they can determine which set of properties belong to specific minerals to help identify the name of that mineral. Procedure: The teacher will select an unknown mineral sample. 1. Observe the color of the mineral. 2. Observe the luster of the mineral. 3. Scratch the mineral across the streak plate and observe the color of the streak. 4. Place a drop of HCl on the sample and note its reaction. 5. Using the copper strip, nail, and glass plate determine what the mineral can and cannot scratch. 6. Compare your observations to the provided sheet to identify your unknown mineral. Expected Results: Results may vary based on materials used, setup, procedure, and other factors, such as mineral sample chosen, however, here is an example on what to expect: • Students should observe differences among the mineral samples for color, hardness, luster, shape, and chemical reaction. Follow-up: • Which properties were most useful for identifying minerals? Why? • What causes the fizz when the HCl comes in contact with certain minerals?

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