Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Geology of Gems and Minerals


National Middle School Science Standards

Earth Science

Key Terms

geology, rock, mineral, pegmatite, crystal, gem

Key Concepts

  • Processes of mineralization and crystallization
  • Differences between gems and minerals 
  • Human impacts on gems and minerals
  • Geographic distribution of gems and minerals
  • Technology used by geologists

Resource Types

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Geology of Gems and Minerals  teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations.

Earth Science

MS-ESS2 Earth's Systems

  • MS-ESS2-1 Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
  • MS-ESS2-2 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.
  • MS-ESS2-3 Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.

MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

  • MS-ESS3-1 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth's mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.
  • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
Resource Type
Subject Guides
Grade Level
Learning Standards
Next Generation Science Standards
Earth Science