Building Blocks: What is the Difference Between Rocks and Minerals? (page 2)

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Author: Janice VanCleave

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Could other rocks and minerals be formed using only two types of elements? Repeat the experiment, increasing the number of red and white gumdrops as needed. Remember that minerals contain the same element or chemical compound repeated throughout, while rocks are mixtures of different minerals. Science Fair Hint: Construct a display with samples of each rock and mineral model.

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Ice, which is frozen water, meets all the requirements for a mineral, but water itself does not. The symbol for water is H2O, which means that each molecule of water is made up of two hydrogen (H) atoms connected to one oxygen (O) atom. Water exists as a solid, liquid (phase of matter with a definite volume but no definite shape), or gas (phase of matter with no definite volume or shape). In liquid water, the oxygen atom of one water molecule loosely bonds with the hydrogen atom of another water molecule. A small flexible chain of molecules is formed. In the gas phase, fewer water molecules bond together. Ice differs from water in the liquid or gas phase in that ice is a solid with a crystalline form. The solid ice crystal is made up of water molecules, but they are bonded to form a six-sided honeycomb structure as shown in the diagram. Use gumdrops to make a model of the mineral ice. Display the gumdrop model.

Building Blocks

Building Blocks

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Find out more about the minerals in the earth's lithosphere. What are the names of the 12 rock-forming minerals?

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