Mineral Lab for a Tight Budget

If you don’t have any supplies for studying minerals, my experience suggests that the following mineral specimens and supplies provides you with the least amount of materials you need for hands-on activities.

Mineral Samples

I chose these three because you get a variety of mineral properties for low cost. Talc is a cheap replacement for graphite and fluorite can work in place of hematite for a middle level hardness, although its luster and streak are the same as quartz.

MineralHardnessStreakLuster
graphite1.5-2blacksubmetallic
red hematite5-6red-brownearthy
quartz7whiteglassy

Additional Supplies

  • white streak plates (Unglazed porcelain tiles) – sets are about 10 bucks
  • pennies
  • nails
  • steel butter knives (if allowed)

With these supplies your students can make observations and practice testing minerals for streak and hardness.

Need a Lab Worksheet?

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