Crystallography in the Classroom-Modeling Silicates without Silicate Models
Alyson Ponomarenko January 2004 Journal of Geoscience Education vol 52 number 1, p 31-33
This Journal of Geoscience Education article proposes two alternatives to the traditional ball-and-stick model for teaching silicate chemistry and crystallography in the classroom. The first model uses fresh fruits of varying sizes to demonstrate the basic silicon-oxygen tetrahedral structure, and to show how covalent and metallic bonding can reduce the negative charge balance, ultimately creating viable silicate minerals. The second uses students to represent large mobile silicon tetrahedral in a truly hands-on approach to understanding silicate minerals and magmas. The two methods used together and supplemented with active in-class discussion provide for optimal learning, even in large classes.