Feel free to follow your scholar's adventures as we go through the rock cycle and minerals during my stay standing in for Mrs. Jaymes. Hopefully I can make this transition as seamless as possible, and when Mrs. Jaymes returns all will be as it should. Listed below will appear the pdfs of all of my lessons as well as the rational for doing the lesson. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me an e-mail at clindgren@scit.org

Clear Skies,


Charles F. Lindgren


Week of 12/5

Week of 12/12

Week of 12/19

Week of 1/2

Week of 1/9

Week of 1/16

Week of 1/23

Week of 1/30


Homework for the Week of 12/5


Wednesday - Read page 118 "Density" in Inside Earth. Be able to define, and explain how it is calculated. Review the Skill Lab on Page 123. We will be doing this on Friday and Monday!    

Thursday - Find a piece of thread about 30 cm long. Tie it in a loop, and practice attaching small stones to it. Review what we did today on Specific Gravity and Density.   



GALILEO WAS RIGHT! - (December 5-6) - Why study rocks? This incredible Tom Hanks' video from the HBO series "From the Earth to the Moon" gives the reason. As your scholar watches the video (s)he will be required to answer some questions and hopefully correct some misconceptions about the Moon.

A SUITE OF ROCKS!! - (December 7) - In "Galileo was Right" the astronauts learned how to collect a suite of rock samples from a site. They were given ten minutes to try and find as many different samples from an area as possible, and use those samples to describe the site. In October your scholars did the same thing at a local beach. They were asked to bring in four samples of rocks. One had to have one color, one two colors, another three colors, and the fourth more than three colors. Today we did a dichotomous classification of those samples.


This primitive classification method allows the new geologist to use just about any physical characteristic to classify the samples. Later, they will attempt to identify which characteristics were really helpful.


DENSITY AND SPECIFIC GRAVITY - (Dec. 8,9,12?)  A  dichotomous classification system only works for a limited number of samples, and usually with a limited number of people. Some of the characteristics are very clear cut (i.e. "has white dots'), others (i.e. "smooth and rough") are open to interpretation. Therefore we use more highly refined traits to identify rocks and the minerals that are in them. Over the next week we will explore these characteristics to help identify the rock forming minerals, the minerals that play a major role in our lives, and the minerals that are just plain neat! Density and Specific Gravity are the first two characteristic properties of minerals we will investigate. Over the next one or two days each team will find those two answers for up to ten unknown samples. Click on the title to download a pdf of the lab.

Homework Week of 12/12

Monday - Complete any calculations on your Density/Specific Gravity Sheet. Be sure that everything that should have a label does have a label!! All masses, densities, and specific gravities should be rounded to the nearest tenth (0.1). All volumes should be to the nearest whole number. Read pages 116-119 in Inside Earth. You will be performing these tests on the minerals on Wednesday!

Tuesday - Review pages 116-119 in preparation for tomorrow.  Find the density and specific gravity of the 15 samples using the data. Bring in a penny.

Wednesday - Identify the 15 mineral samples. Use your completed Mineral Identification Labs and pages 200-201 of Inside Earth to accomplish this. Note: this can be turned in either Thursday or Friday because of the winter concert tonight. Sing and play your hearts out!!

Thursday - Review the instructions for putting together the PowerPoint presentation. Here's the scoring rubric for the presentation. Computer Lab in the Media Center tomorrow.

Friday -  If you don't think you will finish the PowerPoint in the lab on Monday, do some research this weekend to help you along. Computer Lab in B308(?) on Monday.


Specific gravity and density are two of the characteristic properties that are used to identify minerals. If the sample is pure, the value for each will be a constant, and therefore, can be used to help in the mineral's identification.

To find Specific Gravity . . .


Then we found the difference between the two and divided the "Mass in Air" by the Difference.

To find the Density . . .

Then we found the volume of the sample and divided it into the mass to get the density.

Then we entered all of the data into a spreadsheet so we could see data for all of the samples.

The following day we were given all of the data and had to decide on the best method for finding the correct density and specific gravity. We decided to use a combination of strategies: finding the average after first eliminating any outliers, finding the median, finding the mode.

Next we performed various physical tests on the minerals to identify other physical traits:


We also recorded any unique features that the individual minerals displayed such as "magnetic!"

Homework Week of 12/19

There really isn't any.

Monday - We will go to B308 and finish our mineral powerpoints. Be sure you save it to the shared student folder in your block's folder, and also save it to your own personal folder. If you want to practice it at home, feel free.

Tuesday/Wednesday - We'll be listening to the powerpoints. Once again, if you want to practice at home, feel free.

Thursday - I'll be passing back the density labs, and the mineral labs and we'll "discuss" the results.

Homework Week of 1/2

Tuesday will be spent clearing up any powerpoints that still have to be given, mineral labs that have to be reviewed, and discussing the grades on the powerpoints. There's going to be a "quest" (Too big for a quiz, to small for a test) tomorrow. You can use your Specific Gravity/Density labs, Mineral Identification Lab, Notes from the Presentations, and Periodic Table on it. Be sure you have all of them with you.

Wednesday will be quest day. I have no idea how long it will take. Your homework will be to complete "Is it a Rock?" That will be due Friday.

Thursday we're going to do a dichotomous classification of igneous rocks in class. It will be similar to our first attempt, but this time all of the samples will be igneous, and your answers need to be a tad more sophisticated, meaning that rather than saying "dots" you need to use the names of the igneous rock forming minerals that you now have mastered!

Friday we will discuss "Is it a Rock?"  review our classifications, and take our first look at the Igneous Rock Charts. They are really neat! There will be a set of these for the class. If you want your own personal edition, click here, and click here.


Homework Week of 1/9

Last Saturday was my idea of a perfect January day - no wind, temperature near 60 degrees F - a perfect beach day for this time of year. I went to Rocky Beach in Cohasset to collect a few final samples for this week's lab, and saw this outcrop. One of the samples we had used last week was very deformed. Many students mentioned it. Many wanted to know why it looked like that. The image above shows why. Also in the image are numerous igneous rocks. If all goes according to plan, your scholars should be able to identify almost all of the rocks shown in this image and tell their stories! Wish us luck!

Monday we are going to see a great flick from PBS's "Origins" series. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the new Carl Sagan, wrote a great cosmology book called Origins. PBS turned it into a great NOVA series with the same name. Tyson is now the host of many NOVA episodes. He also is the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, and on the board of the Planetary Society. We're going to watch the episode on "The Earth is Born" to give us an introduction to how igneous rocks are formed. I strongly advise you to download your own personal copies of the two igneous rock charts we will be using for the rest of the week. I have a classroom set, but I couldn't print  the 200+ color charts I would need for each of you. If you want your own personal edition, click here, and click here.

Tuesday we'll review the flick, get our quests back, and introduce the rock charts. Your homework is to review the notes you took regarding the charts. Look below to check out the neat Spitzer telescope image showing star birth/death.

"A bubbling cauldron of star birth is highlighted in this new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Infrared light that we can't see with our eyes has been color-coded, such that the shortest wavelengths are shown in blue and the longest in red. The middle wavelength range is green.

Massive stars have blown bubbles, or cavities, in the dust and gas -- a violent process that triggers both the death and birth of stars. The brightest, yellow-white regions are warm centers of star formation. The green shows tendrils of dust, and red indicates other types of dust that may be cooler, in addition to ionized gas from nearby massive stars.

Cygnus X is about 4,500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, or the Swan.

Blue represents light at 3.6 microns: 4.5-micron light is blue-green; 8.0-micron light is green; and 24-micron light is red. These data were taken before the Spitzer mission ran out of its coolant in 2009, and began its "warm" mission."

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA


Wednesday we'll begin looking at unique igneous rock samples. Each of these samples gives us a look at all of the different qualities that igneous rocks possess. They also are really neat to look see! Click on the thumbnails below to view them!



















* Yeah, yeah travertine is considered a sedimentary mineral/rock, but it is formed in an igneous environment.

Thursday will be a review of the lab.

Friday could be quest time again! We'll have to see how the week goes. If it is, you will be able to use your labs and the igneous rock charts. Once again, if you want your own personal rock charts, click here, and click here.


Homework Week of 1/16

Tuesday - Reread and organize your material for the quest on Thursday on Igneous Rocks. Note the change of date. You can use the following materials on the quest:

Wednesday - Same as above. The quest will have 18 multiple choice questions and an open response essay. You must be comfortable with this material. Yes, you can find all of the answers by going through the sheets, but it will take you forever! We'll start the Sedimentary Lab today.

Thursday - Reread pp. 152-159 on Sedimentary Rocks, and review your notes. We should be finishing the  Sedimentary Lab tomorrow and starting to go over it.

Friday - None.

Homework Week of 1/23

Well last week didn't go as planned. I didn't count on me missing three days! Yuck! We did the Igneous Quest and they are all corrected. The grades should be posted to edline by the end of the day on Monday. You'll get them back when the rest of sick ones make it up!

There is no homework this week other than to review the Metamorphic Notes the day before we do the lab.

Monday - You'll finish the Sedimentary Lab you started on Friday.


























Tuesday - If I can talk  that long (highly doubtful) we'll go over the Sedimentary Lab. If I can't we'll do the Metamorphic Lab. This one isn't nearly as long as the other two, so it should comfortably fit into one period.

Wednesday -  we'll do the Metamorphic Lab. This one isn't nearly as long as the other two, so it should comfortably fit into one period.


















Thursday - We'll go over the metamorphic lab and prepare for the practical on Friday. Be sure you have your three labs and your cheat sheet with you tomorrow. I'll be collecting the sedimentary and metamorphic labs.

Click here for the Practical Test Practice PowerPoint we did in class today. It's at the end of the Metamorphic Lab presentation.

Friday - We'll  take the rock practical. You'll be given 25 rocks to identify using your three labs and a "cheat sheet."

Week of 1/30

Hopefully I'm not at Gates this week and Mrs. Jaymes is, and everything will return to normal. I have a TON of sand to photograph! I must say that I enjoyed my stay with you. You're a great bunch of people. You did a fantastic job on the last test. Speaking of that, for you folks who weren't able to take the practical with us, I've created a virtual practical. Click Here to view it.


Have a great rest of the year. Don't forget, if you go anyplace where there is sand . . .

Clear Skies,

Charles F. Lindgren