Here’s a story from Dr. Nancy McMillan at New Mexico State University with conflict minerals:
By day, Nancy McMillan is Geological Sciences department head and professor of igneous petrology and geochemistry. But a recent Thursday evening in November found her using the SciAps Z in her community, teaching a group of middle and high school students how to identify conflict minerals for the Museum of Nature and Science in Las Cruces.
At the free Teen Science Café event, the students participated in building a library of spectra from five minerals: tourmaline, ruby, tanzanite, peridot, and topaz.
The library consisted of photos of 3-4 spectra of each mineral—very rudimentary but functional. Then the teens took turns analyzing seven “unknown” gems and compared their spectra to the library to identify each stone.
They had two ringers in there—a citrine, which wasn’t in the library, allowing them to talk about how important building the library is, and a sapphire, which classified as ruby. This let them talk about how both ruby and sapphire are corundum.
At the end, they analyzed a box full of minerals that needed to be identified at the museum. The teens used the ElementPro App to confirm the presence of the important elements.
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