There is a growing need for environmental scientists, geoscientists, and analysts skilled in the use of X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and X-ray diffractometry. The challenge for educators is how to inspire, teach, and make the next generation of professional X-ray users and analysts ready for employment. In this paper, we present vignettes from teaching applications of X-ray analytical techniques at three scaffolded levels, from senior high school students, undergraduate science students, to postgraduate researchers. At each of these levels the pedagogical complexity increases, from simple data use at high school, to observing how data are generated and being able to constrain analytical uncertainty at the undergraduate level, to generating high-quality data at the postgraduate level. In all cases, transportable equipment is used in on-site analytical programs to inform the experimental design, level of sampling required, and research outcomes.