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Mineral Formation

Minerals form from magma and solutions, such as salt water and geothermal water.

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Growing Diamonds
Teacher Contributed

Growing Diamonds

Why It Matters

What if you could have an unlimited supply of bling? What if you could grow your own diamond?

Scientists and entrepreneurs alike are exploring this possibility! Check it out:


What do you think? Would you care if your diamonds were naturally or synthetically created? Do you think that synthetically grown diamonds are the pathway for future electronic development?

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  1. One of the concerns that is briefly addressed in the NOVA clip is one of ethics. Should we be creating diamonds in a lab or not? On the one hand, while these companies are marking their diamonds so that they can be identified, what will happen as this process becomes more widely used? How will we be able to distinguish between the natural and the synthetic? What will this do to the value of diamonds? On the other hand, it is clearly a potential huge step in the development of new electronic technology. Also, there are extreme controversies over the mining process of diamonds being extremely dangerous: http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/diamonds/sierraleone1.html. Research both sides of the issue and development a debate strategy for both sides. Here is a link for various debate formats: http://www.csun.edu/~dgw61315/debformats.html. As an extension to this, your class could hold a UN conference on the issue in your classroom! (Part 3 of the PBS News Hour lesson: http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/diamonds/sierraleone1.html)
  2. Create your own diamond! Use the atom builder to create a carbon atom: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/diamond/inside.html. What did you have to do to create the atom? Write out the procedure that you took to make a successful carbon atom.
  3. Use the diamond viewer to compare the structure of carbon atoms in a diamond to graphite and a buckyball. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/diamond/inside.html) How are they different? Why do diamonds only form at extreme pressures? Sketch each structure, highlight the differences, and describe how a change in pressure could explain the differences.

Resources Cited

NOVA. PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/artificial-diamonds.html


American Radio Works. http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/diamonds/sierraleone1.html

Glen Whitman. California State University Northridge. http://www.csun.edu/~dgw61315/debformats.html

Connections to other CK-12 Subject Areas

Earth Science

  • Meteors

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