Science - 2018-19

ES.4 - Minerals

The student will investigate and understand how to identify major rock-forming and ore minerals based on physical and chemical properties. Key concepts include
a) hardness, color and streak, luster, cleavage, fracture, and unique properties; and
b) uses of minerals.

Bloom's Levels:  Analyze; Understand

Adopted: 2010


  • Minerals are essential materials for human life.

  • I can determine if a rock I found outside is worth money.
  • I can choose countertops for my home.


  • There is a difference between rocks and minerals. Most rocks are made of one or more minerals. 
  • A mineral is a naturally occurring, inorganic, solid substance with a definite chemical composition and structure and can be identified based on specific chemical and physical properties.
  • The major elements found in Earth’s crust are oxygen, silicon, aluminum, and iron. The most abundant group of minerals is the silicates, which contain silicon and oxygen. Some common silicates include feldspar and quartz. 
  • The carbonate group of minerals is composed of the carbonate compound CO3. Some common carbonates are calcite and dolomite.
  • The oxide group of minerals is composed of oxygen and a metal. Some common oxides include hematite and magnetite.
  • Minerals are important to human wealth and welfare.


In order to meet this standard, it is expected that students will

a)  analyze why certain common metallic elements (iron, aluminum, silicon) are rarely, if ever, found in the native state.

     analyze the distribution and persistence of minerals at or near Earth’s surface in terms of Earth’s general structure, plate tectonics, and chemical and physical weathering.

     analyze the relationship between the qualities of cleavage, fracture, and hardness and the molecular structure and chemistry of silicates,carbonates, and oxides.

     identify minerals by their physical properties, such as hardness, color, luster, and streak.

b)  recognize some major rock-forming minerals such as quartz, feldspar, calcite, and mica.

     recognize ore minerals including pyrite, magnetite, hematite, galena, graphite, and sulfur. 


carbonates, cleavage, definite chemical composition, double refractions, evaporites, fracture, gems, hardness, inorganic, luster, mineral, naturally occurring, ore, properties, silicates, solid, specific gravity, streak

Updated: May 30, 2018