Gems: How do gemstones get their colors?

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Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Organization:Newton's Apple
Summary:How do the natural shapes of gemstone crystals control what the final cut gem will look like? Where do gemstones come from? What makes them sparkle? Where do their colors come from? There's nothing as eye-catching as a piece of fine jewelry covered in beautifully colored gemstones. Natural gemstones, however, are simple mineral crystals whose chemistry and structure make them look special. Of the 2,000 minerals identified in the world, only about 16 yield important gemstones. To be a gemstone, a mineral has to be beautifully colored, hard, quite durable, and most of all, rare! Read and participate in this activity and learn about gemstones.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 3
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS2.A; ESS3.A
NGSS Performance Expectations:5-ESS2-1; HS-ESS2-1; HS-ESS2-2; HS-ESS3-1; HS-ESS3-2; MS-ESS2-2; MS-ESS3-1
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Analyzing and interpreting data; Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering); Developing and using models; Engaging in argument from evidence
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation; Scale, proportion, and quantity; Stability and change; Systems and system models
Subjects: 6-8; 9-12; activities; geology; high school; lesson; middle school; minerals
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