Pedagogical Guide

The Minerals of Canada poster has been designed for teachers and students exploring curricula related to rocks and minerals. The poster will spark interest and questions about minerals and the Earth. It will help introduce minerals, their characteristics and occurrences in the Provinces and Territories.

Minerals are everywhere
Common minerals
Ore minerals
Rare exotic minerals
Mineral emblems
Mineral cards and poster
Tips to order minerals for your classroom
Web sites with fun things on minerals
Collaborators on this project
Who we are
Lesson plans for hands-on activities

Minerals are everywhere

We have strived to illustrate some minerals typical of every province. The minerals specimens all come from museums and they are the finest specimens you can get. But you can get inexpensive samples of most of the minerals we have illustrated.

Common minerals

Even though there are about 4000 different mineral species, most of them are rare or unusual. In fact, several are found in only a few places on Earth. The varieties of minerals we see depend on the chemical elements available to form them. In the Earth's crust, the most abundant elements are as follows:

  1. O, Oxygen 45.2% by weight
  2. Si, Silicon 27.2%
  3. Al, Aluminum 8.0%
  4. Fe, Iron 5.8%
  5. Ca, Calcium 5.1%
  6. Mg, Magnesium 2.8%
  7. Na, Sodium 2.3%
  8. K, Potassium 1.7%
  9. Therefore it is not surprising that the most common minerals - quartz, feldspar, and mica – are made up of these elements. Those three minerals together account for 90% of the minerals of the Earth's crust.

    Ore minerals

    Ore minerals are the minerals that we mine for the metals or substances we use in our everyday lives. They provide metals for household appliances, and cars. For examples: quartz is used in televisions and radios, and gypsum is used to make plasterboard and paint. Data on mineral industry

    Rare exotic minerals

    Rare or exotic minerals are found in only a few places in the world. Canada is one of the world's top producers of fine mineral specimens. It has many localities that produce high quality minerals, the most famous being Mont Saint-Hilaire and the Jeffrey Mine in Québec, and the Rapid Creek area of the Yukon. Those localities are known by mineral collectors worldwide.

    Mineral emblems

    Several provinces and territories have chosen a mineral or gem emblem to represent their province. We have chosen to highlight these with the following symbol Some provinces, Nova Scotia for example, have a mineral emblem as well as a gem emblem.

    Mineral cards and poster

    The mineral photographs illustrated in this poster are also available to be printed as mineral cards. You can print the mineral properties on the back. The mineral cards can also be used in activities where students need to match the card with the mineral specimen.

    The Minerals of Canada poster can be used to explain the properties marked with an *

    Luster *HardnessColor *
    Color of StreakMagnetismCrystal shape *
    Cleavage *DensityIridescence *

    Tips to order minerals for your classroom

    Nothing will ever replace the hands-on experience of handling real minerals; we encourage you to get a collection for your classroom. Here are two reliable suppliers that will allow you to pick and choose the samples you would like. Get at least 1-inch specimen; it is better to have less specimens but larger ones.

    Here is a list of 30 minerals that will allow you to plan several hands-on activities:

  10. Apatite
  11. Beryl
  12. Calcite
  13. Chalcopyrite
  14. Chromite
  15. Corundum
  16. Feldspar (labradorite, microcline)
  17. Fluorite
  18. Galena
  19. Garnet
  20. Graphite
  21. Gypsum
  22. Halite
  23. Hematite
  24. Hornblende
  25. Ilmenite
  26. Limonite
  27. Magnetite
  28. Mica (biotite, phlogopite)
  29. Muscovite
  30. Native copper
  31. Pyrite
  32. Pyroxene (diopside)
  33. Pyrrhotite
  34. Quartz
  35. Quartz (crystal)
  36. Sphalerite
  37. Talc
  38. Tourmaline
  39. Many of these are illustrated on the poster.

    If you know a geologist or if there is a government office nearby, it is well worth asking for a few rock specimens to illustrate the three main categories of rocks: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic.

    Musée minéralogique et minier de Thetford Mines
    711, boulevard Frontenac Ouest (Route 112)
    Thetford Mines (Québec), Canada, G6G 7Y8
    Phone: (418) 335-2123
    Fax: (418) 335-5605
    Customer service:
    Communication & marketing:
    Bernica Enterprises Ltd.
    2954 West 34th Avenue
    Vancouver, BC
    V6N 2J8
    Phone: 604-261-4620
    Fax: 604-261-4624
    Order form:

    Web sites with fun things on minerals

    Learn about minerals in the Dragon’s Cave:

    Mineral games, mineral groups, mineral in your house:

    Collaborators on this project

    Thanks to all who have collaborated on this project

    The following members of the Canadian Geoscience Education Network.

    Who we are

    The Mineralogical Association of Canada is a charitable organization devoted to promoting and advancing the science of mineralogy. We publish "The Canadian Mineralogist", a scientific journal to publish the latest advances in the field.

    Lesson plans for Hands-on activities


    Lesson #1: Mineral Identification
    Lesson #2: Chalk Painting
    Lesson #3: Growing Crystals

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