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In this exercise, students use both polyhedral model kits designed by the University of Wisconsin at Madison Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) Institute for Chemical Education and computer visualization in Jmol to explore the structures of a variety of phyllosilicate minerals, and relate those structures to physical properties. Students work in small groups to build either a sequence of dioctahedral or trioctahedral minerals and answer a series of questions about structure, arrangement, coordination and bonding. The small dioctahedral and trioctahedral groups combine to compare structures and discuss additional questions about these and other minerals.
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