Earth Science Week Classroom Activities

Mineral Identification

Women inMining

Activity Source:

Adapted from Women in Mining Education Foundation Activities


To teach the student to identify minerals by observing and testing the physical properties of each mineral.


  1. Set up mineral stations for each mineral the students are to identify. If necessary, some stations may have two minerals to identify.
  2. Each station should be equipped with one each of the following items:
    • Glass plate
    • Penny
    • Streak plate (white unglazed porcelain)
    • Magnet
    • Water
    • Balance Scale
    • Graduated cylinder (for specific gravity test)
    • Steel Nail
  3. Divide students into equal groups. Have the number of student groups match the number of mineral stations.
  4. Distribute a Mineral Worksheet and Mineral Background sheet to each student. Have students read the Mineral Background sheet.
  5. Assign each group to a mineral station and have students move to their assigned station to begin testing. Have the students perform the physical property tests listed on the Mineral Background sheet. Have students record the test results on the Mineral Worksheet.
  6. Rotate the student groups through each of the work stations, performing the tests at each station. Allow 5 to 10 minutes per mineral per station.
  7. Hand out Mineral Identification Sheets. (These sheets will be prepared by the teacher depending on the minerals available to use in the class. The sheets should include the name of the minerals and their physical properties.)
  8. Have students compare their test results with the Mineral Identification Sheet. Can the students correctly name each of the minerals using their test results? Write the name of the mineral on the Mineral Worksheet.