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Out of the Stone Age

Science Scope Volume 29, Number 2, ISSN 0887-2376


One of the most beneficial uses for technology in the science classroom is data manipulation. During labs and other learning experiences, students can quickly put the data they collect into spreadsheets or databases. Then they can make comparisons, create graphs, draw conclusions, sort the data in new ways, and, ultimately, give their data meaning. To use computers in this way, the author has students create a database in a simple spreadsheet program (such as Microsoft Excel, 2.0 Beta Version, Lotus 1-2-3, EasySpreadsheet, or GS-Calc Version 6) with data about minerals and their properties that they use later as a tool in identifying mystery minerals. Before starting the mineral identification database lab, students have learned about minerals, their properties, and how to test those properties. They have tested known minerals for streak, luster, hardness, cleavage/fracture, and color and recorded their results. With this information, students create a database of minerals and their properties. A database is simply a data table that can be sorted easily to find different connections. Students have a blank database where they input the data they have collected from a prior minerals lab. They put their data in and then e-mail the results so the teacher can compile them into one large database.


Kademan, R. (2005). Out of the Stone Age. Science Scope, 29(2), 58-59. Retrieved June 26, 2019 from .

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