Lesson: Rewrite the Script of Imperialism: Minerals and their Uses

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Lesson Objective

Students will understand what minerals are, how they are identified, what they are used for, and the role they played in motivating imperialism

Lesson Plan


-       LCD projector

-       Computer

-       Mineral Identification/Sample kit


Anticipatory Set:

            Place sample minerals around the room and allow students to touch and examine them. Ask if they have ideas of what each might be.



            Lead students through the attached PowerPoint presentation. Have them take notes according to your classroom system.


Guided Practice:

            Lead students in assessing and labeling minerals in the sample kit by using the criteria such as cleavage, streak, hardness, etc.

 Divide students into 6 groups. If they are not already, label minerals with numbers so you have a common reference point. 

Label the groups Color, Luster, Streak, Cleavage, Hardness and Specific Gravity

If you have a picture of the range of colors, provide that to the color group. One is available here: http://vintageprintable.com/wordpress/2009/05/03/vintage-printable-color-charts/design-color-chart-gems-and-minerals/ If you trust your students, give the hardness group a nail. (They can scratch with a fingernail, but an actual nail is more efficient.) For the streak group, a tile or brick is great, but a hard plastic white cutting board will work, too, and that's about a $1 investment.  The luster group might enjoy a small penlight and a mirror to focus on the idea of refracting light, but they could also hold rocks up to the light in the room.  The cleavage group has to make do with looking at the shape of the rock as is, unless you have safety goggles, a container, a hammer, and a lot of ambition. (IF they do any chipping, do it last!) The specific gravity group needs water in a medium-sized container. 

Give each group a stone to start with, ask them to test it and guess its identity. They should then write down the number and what they think it's called. They should pass the stones clockwise after about 2 minutes. After about 4 rotations, ask students to stop and switch stations. After about 4 rotations, ask them to stop and switch stations again. By the end, students should have tried 3 methods of identification on most or all of the stones. 

Conduct a class discussion to see if students agree with each other's decision. Choose a group, choose a stone, and ask them to justify their guess. Ask other students if they agree or disagree. If they disagree, ask them why. They may remember working with that stone at another station and explain which attribute led them to a different conclusion. Encourage them to demonstrate if possible. After some healthy debate, reveal the answers on the board. 


Independent Practice:

Students should….

  • · Complete Earth Science Chapter 4
  • · Read Heart of Darkness  pp.69-92
  • · Complete Project Vocabulary Crossword Puzzles


 Students complete online assessments on minerals at http://glencoe.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0078664233/student_view0/unit2/chapter4/section1/self-check_quiz.html

Lesson Resources



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