STEM Learning Module

Ocean Silicate Geology

Marshmallow and toothpick models of silicate rock structure
Ocean Exploration Trust

Using marshmallow modeling tools, in this activity students will model the formation of silicates–the family of minerals that make up more than 90% of the Earth’s crust. Silicates range from mafic to felsic. And since not all silicates are made equal, the composition of each of these minerals varies greatly on the depth within the Earth.

Objectives & learning outcomes

By lesson completion, students will be able to:

  • create models of mineral structures using knowledge of charges from the periodic table
  • construct mineral structures in three dimensions and determine the mineral groups of their structures
  • describe the nature and presence of metals in the minerals investigated.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Grade level

Grade level

Time & materials

Time & materials
Scale: one of three
Prep time and materials cost minimal, may require printing.