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This exercise is designed to help students think about the properties of minerals that are most useful for mineral classification and identification. Students are given a set of minerals and asked to come up with a hierarchical classification scheme (a "key") that can be used to identify different mineral species. They compare their results with the products of other groups. They test the various schemes by applying them to unknown samples. While doing this exercise, the students develop observational and interpretational skill. They also begin to think about the nature of classification systems.
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