Rock Cycle - Minerals (5A)
Pre Lab 

  • Learning that minerals are made of elements and compounds.
  • Discussing the key characteristics of minerals.
  • compound
  • element
  • mineral

Students learn about uses of minerals by lecture and internet.

borate minerals are used in detergent, steel, and fiber optic industries 


Elements and compounds are the building blocks of minerals. Minerals made of only one element are called NATIVE minerals (i.e., silver, gold, mercury, copper). Minerals composed of compounds are simply referred to as minerals (i.e., quartz, which is made up on silicon and oxygen). To be classified as a mineral, a substance must be:

  1. INORGANIC - made from nonliving matter,
  2. NATURALLY MADE -industrial diamonds and so-called "man-made" minerals are not true minerals,
  3. CRYSTALLINE - the molecules that make up the substance are arranged in a set pattern salt, and
  4. HAVE A DEFINITE CHEMICAL COMPOSITION - no other chemicals, elements or atoms, can be substituted into the structure.
  1. There are thousands of known minerals. In everyday language, there are many references to minerals. Have the students name several of these, and put them on the board. Here are examples:
    1. You need vitamins and minerals for a healthy body
    2. Mineral Oil
    3. Mineral Bath
    4. Mineral Spring Water
    5. Shampoo enriched with minerals
    6. Fortified with minerals
    7. Natural energy from minerals
    8. Fortified with vitamins and minerals
    9. USDA recommended daily amount of vitamins and minerals
  2. Minerals are important in everyday life. Have the students compile a list of minerals and their uses on the board:

         diamonds = jewelry
         gypsum = used in plaster board
         calcite = used in cement
         quartz = watches, making glass and many more.

  3. Instruct students to examine their homes and identify substances that may contain minerals. Minerals are sometimes difficult to identify. The following lab centers around those key characteristics that can help identify minerals. It also discusses how some of those characteristics make minerals useful specific products in our society.
  4. Instruct the students to find other uses for minerals by conducting an Internet search. They will be amazed at how many sites are devoted to minerals.

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