Teachers from across the State gathered for the Illinois Teachers Workshop: Rocks, Minerals & Mining in Today’s Society, presented by the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP) on July 16th-18th at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. Timothy Christian grade school teachers Bonnie VanProyen (4th grade) and Kendra Pasek (6th grade) joined another thirty-three elementary, middle, high school and junior college teachers to refresh their knowledge of earth science and learn so much more about the importance of various minerals and mined products including crushed stone, sand, gravel, and silica sand.
“Rocks and minerals are used in the foundation of our homes, shingles on the roof, and nearly every material in between, as well as a wide variety of essential products including medicine, food, and electronics,” said Shawn McKinney, IAAP Assistant Director. “Teachers even made their own toothpaste using limestone and other ingredients.”
Lectures and hands-on activities presented by government, industry and academic professionals explored Illinois geology, fossils, mining processes, and everyday uses for rocks and minerals. Hands-on activities, such as cookie mining, birdseed mining and layer cake core drilling, provide fun and exciting ways to engage students in learning about geological processes and mining economics. Seminars including Life Cycle of a Mine: Exploration, Operation, Sustainability and Reclamation and Good Stone – Bad Stone, helped to illustrate the connection between the products we use today and the raw material source. Teachers also learned how previous participants were using this knowledge and experience to teach their students.
Workshop fieldtrip destinations included a visit to a geology museum at Western Illinois University and hunting for fossils and minerals inside RiverStone Group’s Valley quarry and Central Stone Company’s Tennessee quarry in west-central Illinois as well as a reclaimed stone mine adjacent to the Valley quarry operations.
All of the information and activities presented, as well as numerous educational materials provided to teachers, were designed to have practical applications for students in their classrooms. The IAAP partnered with the Illinois Science Teachers Association and Illinois State University to facilitate professional development credit or graduate degree hours for all participants.
This was the twenty-fourth year for the rocks, minerals & mining workshop. Sponsorship for Kendra Pasek to attend was provided by a contribution from Ozinga, an aggregate and concrete producing company, while Bonnie VanProyen was sponsored by aggregate producer Hanson Material Service. The IAAP is the trade association serving the stone, sand, gravel and non-coal industrial mineral mining industry in Illinois.