Earth and Space Science Students Investigate Minerals


Photo By Henrique Arantes

Students observe minerals to identify what they are. They looked at multiple factors to be able to recognize it.

Henrique Arantes, Assistant Sports Officer in Training

Students from the Earth and Space Science class performed a lab to learn how to describe the different types of minerals recently. They looked at diverse factors with different lab equipment to determine what mineral they were observing.

“I enjoyed watching the students do the lab,” teacher Jonathan Phillips said. “It’s fun seeing the students enjoy hands-on activities. There’s something special about not only being book smart, but applying it in the real world.

Students had to identify nine minerals by looking at their luster, which is how light-reflective they are. They also looked at the color by putting it in its colored form left from a streak. Other factors they observed were cleavage, fractures, and hardness.

“I thought it was really fun,” senior Dillon Derfelt said. “We got to work in groups, and we just had a lot of fun going around and trying to figure out what they were.”

To measure the hardness, students used copper pennies, streak plates, and their fingernails. Color was found with paper, and the triple beam balance is what they used to find the mass. For the volume, they filled a graduated cylinder with water and measured the amount before and after the mineral was dropped in. They also had to check the density to determine where they were formed.

“The project was fun,” senior Baylee Elam said. “It was an easy way to show people how to identify minerals.”