School teachers across Illinois gathered for the Illinois Science Teachers Workshop: Mining, Rocks, and Minerals in Today’s Society, presented by the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP). This opportunity allowed teachers to refresh their knowledge of science and learn about the importance of various minerals and aggregates. The workshop was held July 17 to 19 at the Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center in Grafton, IL.
Thirty-two elementary and high school teachers attended lectures and participated in hands-on activities presented by government, industry and academic professionals exploring Illinois geology, fossils, aggregate mining, and minerals in our everyday lives.
During a fieldtrip, they learned about the many layers of sedimentary rocks visible in the bluffs along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and collected fossils at an abandoned stone quarry. Teachers were also given a collection of rocks and sands from around the world.
By exploring where a rock or sand comes from with their students, teachers can integrate geography, social studies, history, geology, research methods, writing, and math into science lessons, according to conference officials.
Other seminars, including the Life Cycle of a Mine: Exploration to Operation to Reclamation and Rocks and Minerals in Today’s World, helped to illustrate the connection between today’s products and the raw material source.
“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 Outreach manager. “Teachers even made their own toothpaste using limestone and other ingredients.”
All of the information and activities presented, as well as numerous educational materials provided to the teachers, were designed to have practical applications for students in their classrooms. Teachers completing the workshop were eligible to receive continuing professional development unit credit and optional graduate degree hours from Illinois State University (ISU).
This was the tenth year for the Science Teachers Workshop. Funding is provided by contributions from IAAP members.
The IAAP is a trade association representing 110 producer companies in 70 counties producing more than 90 percent of Illinois’ aggregate and 111 associate member companies providing goods and services to the industry.
More information, visit www.iaap-aggregates.org.