Classifying Rocks and Minerals Lesson Plan: Master Mines Game

Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

In this Master Mines lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6-12, students use BrainPOP resources to explore how rocks and minerals are classified by their physical and chemical properties. Students will complete a virtual investigation of the formation of rocks and minerals and practice identifying and classifying them through online game play. Through the game, they will also explore the interrelated nature of rocks and minerals and learn how they explain the changes we see on Earth. Master Mines is a game created by the Jason Project.

Students will:

  1. Explain how rocks and minerals are classified by their physical and chemical properties.
  2. Complete a virtual investigation of the formation of rocks and minerals.
  3. Explore the interrelated nature of rocks and minerals and learn how they explain the changes we see on Earth.

Materials:

  • Interactive whiteboard (or LCD projector)
  • Computers for students to play the game independently or in pairs
  • Photocopies of the Mineral Identification Graphic Organizer
  • Internet access for BrainPOP and game play

Vocabulary:

mineral; trait; hardness; mohs scale; luster; streak; cleavage; fracture

Preparation:

Ensure that students have some background knowledge about minerals and rocks before beginning this lesson through the use of your textbook resources. MastersMines is a game that allows students to virtually explore a diversity of mines around the world to locate prized minerals. The objective of the game is to identify these minerals back in the lab and recommend uses for them based on their unique physical properties. For detailed, step-by-step game instructions, visit the game and click "Instructions."

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Play the Mineral Identification movie with closed captioning on.
  2. Project the Activity and discuss the tools and Mohs scale with the class. Type students' responses directly into the page.
  3. Challenge students to work with a partner and list or chart the 8 physical properties of minerals. Students should also jot down the definition in their own words. Tell students they will be referencing this list during an interactive game, so they should record the information carefully and accurately.
  4. Play the movie through a second time, pausing for students to complete their lists.
  5. Project the Master Mines game for students to see. Explain that they will be virtually exploring a diversity of mines around the world to locate prized minerals. The objective of the game is to identify these minerals back in the lab and recommend uses for them based on their unique physical properties.
  6. Show students how to get the game started if needed by reading the instructions out loud and modeling how to move the geologist over to the map on the wall to get the minerals.
  7. Pair students up and let them explore the game with a partner. You can differentiate this game by keeping some students with you at the interactive whiteboard to play as a group while you provide additional modeling, problem-solving, and instruction. Students should be allowed at least 20 minutes to play the game, as they will not be able to save their work and need sufficient time to explore the key concepts.
  8. Bring the class back to a whole group discussion to talk about their strategies and discoveries. Let students know they will have the opportunity to return to the game again as time allows throughout the unit of study, and can also play it from home.
  9. You may want to use the Quiz as an assessment to see what students have learned.
  10. Review students' answers together as a class. Allow students to change or add to their lists as needed. Address any misconceptions at this time.
  11. Encourage students use the Graphic Organizer to research a favorite rock or mineral they learned about in the game.

Extension Activity:

Encourage students to play the game multiple times throughout your unit of study and even throughout the entire school year. If students do finish the entire game, they earn a printable certificate which you may want to use as an extra credit assignment. "Field assignments" and lab ideas are included in the Curriculum Resources provided by the game developer, Jason.org.

Be sure to check out our other science games in GameUp!