Lesson Plan

Mystery Mineral Identification Lab - Flipped

Student groups will identify a mystery mineral based on the key physical properties of minerals.
Lynn S.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades 7
My Subjects Science
Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • Define and apply the 7 key physical properties of minerals to identify an unknown mineral: color, hardness, luster, streak, cleavage/fracture, magnetism, specific gravity
  • Explain the pros and cons of using color to identify an unknown mineral.
  • Determine the hardness of an unknown mineral by using the "hardness test" and Moh's Hardness Scale.
  • Determine the streak of a mineral by using the "streak test".
  • Use deductive reasoning by analyzing mineral data (evidence) and a mineral identification key.
  • Find the density of an unknown mineral by using the water displacement to measure volume and a triple beam balance or scale to measure mass.
  • Construct a scientific explanation (claim, evidence, reasoning) utilizing empirical data (evidence) and scientific principles (reasoning) to support a claim that addresses the question, "What is my group's mystery mineral?"
Subjects
Science
Grades 6 - 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Do Now

**Note: This lesson is "flipped".  Prior to class, students are exposed to content via video/articles/discussion through virtual platforms (Google Classroom, Weebly - Shonscience.com, Discovery Education, BrainPop etc.).  Through these online resources, students learn basic content and are often required to take notes and/or complete graphic organizers as they watch videos, read an article, etc.  Students are then allowed to use these notes during the "Do Now" below.**


  1. Project ClassDojo timer and class (5:00 min).
  2. Open another tab with Socrative quiz results (updated in real time).  Monitor quiz results.  You can access the actual quiz for this lesson by importing a quiz with the following code: 15193845 
  3. When students complete quiz, switch tab to project class results.  Make sure to take a class vote before displaying results.  Some students prefer not to display their results, but I have found that students are actually motivated by the competition.
  4. Identify questions that students struggled with (40+% incorrect) and review these questions.
  5. Allow students to discuss challenging and debatable questions and responses (turn and talk, table talk, etc.)
  6. Award ClassDojo points (or other prizes) to students who score 100%!
Student Instructions
  1. Take out notes/completed graphic organizers from homework video, article, etc.
  2. Complete the Socrative quiz on a tablet (classroom: shonscience) within the time allotted (5:00 min).
  3. Review, discuss, and debate challenging questions.
  4. Retrieve your points or prize if you rocked it!

 

2 Quick Content Review

BrainPop
From $220
Weebly
Free, Paid
  1. Review the physical properties of minerals that students struggled with most (via Powerpoint presentation or handout).  Alternatively, upload the presentation on Weebly OR Google Classroom and allow students to review the content they struggled with. 
  2. Watch the BrainPop video, "Mineral Identification".
Student Instructions
  1. Review the physical properties of minerals that you struggled with on the Socrative quiz on shonscience.com.
  2. Watch the BrainPop video, "Mineral Identification".

3 Lab/Investigation

Weebly
Free, Paid
  1. Distribute Mineral Identification Lab reports and mineral identification test kits (copper penny, glass plate, steel penny, streak plate or sand paper).
  2. Distribute ONE mystery mineral to each group of students (3-5).  Make sure to take note of the mineral you give each group.
  3. Allow students to begin making qualitative and quantitative observations and performing the necessary tests to identify their unknown mineral.  Make sure students record all data on the Mineral Identification Lab report table.  Encourage student groups to discuss and to use external resources whenever necessary (see #4 below).
  4. Distribute one laptop to each student group.  Allow student groups to access teacher curated videos (you can find plenty on Youtube, OR, on shonscience.com) linked on either the class website or Google Classroom to help student groups when they are stumped.
  5. As students gather their evidence, circulate the room and model/facilitate tests (hardness test, streak test, etc.) whenever necessary.
  6. After students finish collecting data, model how to analyze data by crossing out boxes in the Mineral Identification key (deductive reasoning).
  7. Monitor and award student participation via ClassDojo.  Keep Dojo board projected.  
Student Instructions
  1. Gather all materials: Mineral Identification Lab report, mineral identification test kit, and mystery mineral!
  2. Gather evidence!  Begin making qualitative and quantitative observations and performing the necessary tests to identify your group's unknown mineral.  Record all data on the Mineral Identification Lab report table.  Discuss your thought process with classmates and feel free to use external resources (on your group's laptop) whenever necessary.
  3. Analyze evidence!  Compare all of your group's data to the Mineral Key on the "Identifying Minerals" handout.  Cross out any minerals you are confident cannot be your own.
  4. Narrow down your mystery mineral to no more than 2-3 possibilities.
  5. Discuss/debate with your group which is the most likely mineral.

4 Assess/Discuss/Reflect

Padlet
Free, Paid

To check for understanding, students will post a response on Padlet to any of the below questions.  The question you choose will be based on what most challenged student groups during the investigation.  Give students time to read other team's responses and share/discuss feedback.  Identify any trends, and make sure to set aside time to address any misconceptions.

  • What physical property of minerals was most challenging for you to gather/determine/find? Why?
  • What physical property of minerals provided the biggest clue to help you identify your mystery mineral?
  • What do you think your mystery mineral is?  Which physical properties support this claim?
  • How do you find the _______ (insert physical property that challenged students) of a mineral?
Student Instructions

As a team, answer the question your teacher projects on the board on Padlet:

  • What physical property of minerals was most challenging for you to gather/determine/find? Why

  • What physical property of minerals provided the biggest clue to help you identify your mystery mineral?

  • What do you think your mystery mineral is?  Which physical properties support this claim?
    How do you find the _______ (insert physical property that challenged students) of a mineral?

5 Independent Practice - Construct a Scientific Explanation

Weebly
Free, Paid

Either for homework (in a flipped classroom) or during class time, have students watch the video, "HELP ME WRITE A SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION!" to review how to write a scientific explanation.

During class the next day, have students begin constructing their scientific explanations on the last page of their lab report.

Student Instructions
  1. Watch "HELP ME WRITE A SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION!" to review how to write a scientific explanation.
  2. Begin constructing a scientific explanation that addresses the question, "What is my group's mystery mineral?"
  3. Submit your completed lab report.