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IAAP Brings Together Teachers from Across Illinois for Rocks, Minerals, and Mining Workshop

BOLINGBROOK, IL — 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) at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Everyone present refreshed their knowledge of earth science and learned about the importance of stone, sand, industrial minerals, fossils, sustainability, and the mining process. This was the 27th year for the rocks, minerals, and mining workshop.

Lectures and hands-on activities presented by government, industry, and academic professionals explored Illinois geology, mining, and the rocks and minerals used to make common products. Hands-on activities, such as cookie mining, birdseed mining, and core drilling, provided fun 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 about careers in the mining industry, how to enhance understanding of geology using Google Earth, and how previous participants were using workshop knowledge and experiences to teach students about geology, rocks, minerals, and mining.

Participants received many teaching aids including rock, mineral, and fossil kits, lesson plans, visual aids, and copies of speaker presentations. Dan Wheeler (IDNR Office of Mines & Minerals) gave everyone numerous rock and mineral samples mined in Illinois.

Fieldtrips led by Don Mikulic (Weis Earth Science Museum) and Jake Bartels (Vulcan Materials) allowed teachers to travel down into Vulcan’s McCook Quarry to see how rocks are mined and land reclaimed, go where miners once carved huge blocks of building stone at old quarries, look out over canals used to move stone to Chicago and points all across America, hunt for fossils at H & H Stone quarry in Bolingbrook, and learn about geological history that formed this area of the state.

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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 Teaching Association and Illinois State University to facilitate professional development credit or graduate degree hours for participants.

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