Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM


JAYE, Shelley A., Math, Science & Engineering, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003,

A fully transferrable Mineralogy course is being successfully taught on the Annandale Campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). The key to success has been striking a balance in offering a class that provides the rigor needed for the student anticipating becoming a Geology major and fulfills the needs of the diverse student population at a two-year college (2YC). The course has attracted second semester introductory geology students, offering a new option for the second lab science sequence. Geology and mineral enthusiasts in the community as well as potential and current secondary school Earth Science teachers are common enrollees. Hand sample identification, a strong optical component, an introduction to petrology, and field trips build the foundation of this integrated lecture/lab course. Enrollment has been consistent (10-15 students) every semester since first offered during the Spring of 2011. Some articulation agreements are already in place and we plan to expand to all of the Virginia four-year schools.

Developing a course from scratch can be a daunting challenge; determining the approach to take for this course benefited greatly from the support of colleagues and ideas exchanged at the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) On the Cutting Edge, Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty 2011 workshop in "Teaching Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry in the 21st Century." Emphasis at the workshop was placed on activity based teaching in the classroom and also in the field. Success was realized quickly in this course using the "Just In Time" instructional method of knowledge and immediate practice available in a draft Introductory Mineralogy Lab Manual by Dr. Julia Nord, Associate Professor, George Mason University (also in this Special Topics Section). All of these great ideas and active teaching strategies have been infused into this 2YC Mineralogy course focusing on physical and optical identification of the rock forming minerals and common rocks in the lab as well as taking advantage of the great natural exposures available in Virginia and Maryland to teach in the field.

Plans in-work include developing a "Hard Rock Lab Techniques" short course, aka, teaching the students how to make their own thin sections.

  • Teaching Mineralogy GSA 48.pdf (1.6 MB)