Week 30 - Rocks, Minerals and the Rock Cycle

Tab: Exercise 2.1

Lesson 2.1: What are Rocks and Minerals?

ACTIVITY A: Minerals and Rocks

Required Readings

Science in Action 7
pages 368 - 376

Science Focus 7

pages 354 - 360

What are rocks made of? We walk all over them, but how often have you stopped and really thought about what gives each of these rocks different characteristics?

Rocks have different characteristics as they are made up of different minerals. On the Earth there are over 3500 different naturally occurring minerals. Minerals are naturally occurring inorganic substances with predictable chemical and physical properties.

Although there are numerous minerals, only a few form the majority of rock in the Earth's crust. Most minerals are very rare. Only a few are commonly found throughout the crust.

Minerals can be elements or compounds. Elements are pure substances such as gold. Compounds are a combination of two or more elements. Quartz is a compound mineral which consists of two elements - silicon and oxygen.

ACTIVITY B: Using Properties to Identify Minerals

Required Readings

Science in Action 7
pages 371 to 376

Science Focus 7

pages 355 to 360

Let's pretend for a moment that you are a geologist and have been sent some samples of mineral to find out what they are composed of. What could you do to test these samples? If you were to look at the minerals you will notice that each mineral has certain properties or characteristics which can be tested and measured.

Some of the common properties which can easily be tested for include the following:

  • colour
  • hardness
  • lustre
  • streak
  • cleavage
  • fracture
For this exercise you will need to refer to the readings in your textbook. Click here to try a virtual mineral identification lab.
Exercise 2.1: Identify Minerals Quiz
Click on the icon below and using the list of terms provided to fill in the blanks. The terms may be
used more than once. 


  • Crystals
  • Colour
  • Lustre
  • Mineral
  • Mohs
  • Streak
  • Cleavage
  • Fracture
  • Rocks
  • Transparent
  • Opaque
  • Element
  • Hardness

Extra: For more Mineral Identification Labs click here.