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Teaching Resources

Geology of Gems and Minerals

STEM Discipline:


National Middle School Science Standards

Earth Science

Key Terms:

geology, rock, mineral, pegmatite, crystal, gem

Key Concepts:

  • Processes of mineralization and crystallization
  • Differences between gems and minerals 
  • Human impacts on gems and minerals
  • Geographic distribution of gems and minerals
  • Technology used by geologists

Resource Types:

Associated Experts

Crystals of garnet on muscovite. Photo by Chip Clark, Smithsonian.Crystals of garnet on muscovite. Photo by Chip Clark, Smithsonian.
Webcasts (video) and Podcasts (audio) Shows
Printable Lessons
Online Activities
Science Literacy Resources
Posters and Worksheets 


The Geology of Gems and Minerals teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations:

Earth Science


Earth's Systems
  • MS-ESS2-1Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
  • MS-ESS2-2Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.
  • MS-ESS2-3Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.


Earth and Human Activity
  • MS-ESS3-1Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth's mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.
  • MS-ESS3-4Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
All Q?rius Resources for These Standards
Geologist Dr. Michael Wise in a white t-shirt leaning against a rock surface.
Michael Wise
Geologist Dr. Jeffrey Post sitting at a desk that has green, blue, and orange crystals on it.  Window and painting behind him
Jeffrey Post
Geologist, Curator-in-Charge, Mineral Collection
Tags: mineral

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