|Note to the Teacher: This lesson plan is compatible with any grade, but seems to work best with middle school students. It may be used in Earth Science, Chemistry, Social Studies, History, Ethics, Geography or Economics classes.|
SUBTOPIC: History of Mineralogy
The Students are asked to:
1) construct the "five regular solids," which will be used to study the crystal system of minerals
Humans have always been fascinated with rocks and minerals. Diamonds, gold, silver and other precious minerals are a source of wealth and power. Part of the fascination comes from the order contained in the crystalline structure of minerals.
Like many scientists, Johannes Kepler, when he discovered why there were only six planets, recognized order and symmetry among the planets. He followed the Copernican system and related geometry to his idea of the six planets and the knowledge of the ancients that there are only five solids whose sides are regular polygons.
Kepler conceived that the five solids were contained within each planetary sphere. For example, within Saturn's orbit was an inscribed cube, and within the cube was another sphere containing the orbit of Jupiter, as well as the tetrahedron. The tetrahedron (four equilateral triangles), cube (six squares), octahedron (eight eguilateral triangles), dodecahedron (twelve regular pentagons), and icosahedron (twenty equilateral triangles) are exemplified in the scheme.
Just as Kepler utilized geometry to bring order to
the planets, students will be able to see order and symmetry in the study
of minerals and rocks.
MATERIALS: CONSTRUCTION PAPER, SCISSORS, PENCIL, GLUE
1) Divide the class into groups of four to five students.
2) Give a pattern of the five solids to the students to trace onto a different color of construction paper. Include tabs along the edges of the triangles and pentagons which permit the sides of the figures to be joined.
3) Students are to glue the patterns together and label each.
4) Have students discuss what each shape represents.
The shapes will be used later to study the six crystal systems of minerals,
as well as to understand how Kepler used these symmetrical objects to design
the solar system.
MATERIALS: TEXTBOOKS, ENCYCLOPEDIAS, RESOURCES ON MINERALOGY
1) After the school librarian gives students a brief introduction to where they may find reference materials, the students should write a three to five page report on mineralogy and its history.
The report will cover the following items:
a) what mineralogy isNote: Assign each student a different mineral so as to included all common minerals. Chemical composition and chemical formula for each mineral may also be included.
MATERIALS: WORLD MAPS, COLORED PENCILS, MAGIC MARKERS, PENCILS, REPORTS FROM EXERCISE #2
Note: A history teacher may wish to conduct this lab.
1) Give each group of four students a blank world map.
2) Students are to label each continent and country (major countries are where the minerals are located).
3) Students will give the location of each of the minerals on the map using different colors (the teacher will compile data from the student reports in Activity #2 for student's use).
4) Construct a legend of the map.
5) For an additional class activity, each student
may place his or her individual mineral on the map.
MATERIALS: The film "The Music of the Spheres," from the Ascent of Man series (Bronowski).
Take a class period to view the film, and follow with
a class discussion.
MATERIALS: MINERALS, PENNY, NAIL, GLASS, STEEL FILE, EGG, CARTONS, STREAK PLATES, GOGGLES, GEOLOGY HAMMER, FIELD HARDNESS SCALE, PAPER, PENCIL, DENSITY KITS, MINERAL IDENTIFICATION MANUALS, SUCH AS THE GOLDEN GUIDE TO ROCKS AND MINERALS
1) Divide students into groups of four.
2) Review with them the procedure to follow in identifying the physical and chemical properties of minerals.
3) Students will record the physical and chemical properties and of minerals on a chart (found in any Earth Science lab manual).
4) Give each student 7 minerals to identify.
Bowen, Margarita. Empiricism and Geographical Thought: From Francis Bacon to Alexander Von Humboldt. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge UP, 1981.
Bronowski, Jacob. "The Ascent of Man." (Film Series)
Cohen, I. Bernard. Album of Science: From Leonardo to Lavoiser, 1450-1800. Scribner, 1980.
Cohen, I. Bernard. "Koestler on Kepler and the History of Man's Picture of the Universe." Scientific American 200 (1959).
Desautels, Paul E. Rocks and Minerals. Grosset and Dunlap.
Dietrich, R. V. and B. J. Skinner. Rocks and Rock Minerals. Wiley.
Geikie, A. The Founders of Geology. 2nd Ed. New York: Macmillan, 1905.
Frye, Keith. Modern Mineralogy. Prentice Hall.
Golden Guide to Rocks and Minerals.
Investigating Rocks: Recognizing Rock-Making Minerals. Filmstrip with cassette. EBE.
Koestler, Arthur. The Watershed: A Biography of Johannes Kepler. The Sleepwalkers, UP, 1960.
Mason, Anita. The World of Rocks and Minerals. Larousse.
Minerals. 16mm film. EBE. Part of the "Problem of Conservation Series."
Porter, Roy. The Making of Geology: Earth Science in Britain, 1660-1815. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge UP, 1977.
Rocks and Minerals. 16mm film. BFA.
Rocks and Their Minerals. 20 slides. SVE.
Rutherford, James. et al. Project
Physics. "Kepler's Celestial Music." Holt, Rinehart & Winston,