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Big Idea
A mineral is a naturally occurring, inorganic solid that has a crystal structure and a definite chemical composition. Each mineral has characteristic properties that can be used to identify it. Minerals form as hot magma cools inside the crust, or as lava hardens on the surface. When these liquids cool to a solid state, they form crystals. When elements and compounds that are dissolved in water leave a solution, crystallization occurs, forming a mineral. Minerals are the source of gemstones, metals and a variety of materials used to make many products.
Essential Questions
  • What is the difference between a rock and a mineral? (District Performance Task will address this question.)
  • How can minerals and rocks be identified? (District Performance Task will address this question.)
  • How do minerals form?
  • How are minerals used?

Formulate questions based on observations that lead to the development of a hypothesis.
Classify rocks and minerals by the following observable properties
  • grain
  • color
  • texture
  • hardness
Describe how the rock and fossil record show that environmental conditions have changed over geologic and recent time.
Observe minerals physical properties. Identify minerals using their physical properties. Classify minerals according to their physical properties Model the formation of minerals in nature. Investigate the properties of minerals in order to classify and identify minerals.
Content/Core Ideas
Determine how the properties of minerals can be used to identify the mineral. Conclude that minerals form through crystallization. Discover many uses of minerals.
Academic Vocabulary
  • mineral
  • rock
  • crystal
  • streak
  • luster
  • Mohs Hardness scale
  • cleavage
  • fracture
  • crystallization
  • vein
  • ore
  • smelting