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ERIC Number: EJ1166182
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jan
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8555
A Polarizing View
Bernard, Rachel; Henegan, Colleen
Science Teacher, v85 n1 p33-41 Jan 2018
For many students, the first--and sometimes only--chance to look through a microscope is in high school biology class, where they observe plant and animal cells up close. Even in college, few students use a microscope for a subject other than biology. Thus, it can be a surprise to learn that microscopes are a primary tool used to understand the chemical and physical properties of rocks (e.g., Gunter 2004, Reinhardt 2004). "Petrography"--the use of microscopes to study optical properties of rocks and minerals--is a cornerstone of a geoscience education. Polarized-light microscopes show thin, polished rock slices in a beautiful and informative light. Though such microscopes are expensive, a standard high school microscope can be easily and inexpensively altered so it can identify fascinating features in rocks. This article describes a lesson plan developed for an Advanced Placement (AP) environmental science (APES) class that can be adapted for any course that addresses the rock cycle. Parts of the lab could also be used in a physics class that addresses light waves.
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A