Texas Science Teachers Learn How the Industrial Minerals Industry Supports the State’s Growth
The annual workshop, based in and around San Antonio, helps to educate the educators. Teachers learn science-based information on the availability, importance, and development of industrial minerals, including aggregates like sand, gravel, and crushed stone. The workshop includes classroom sessions and hands-on labs on such things as plate tectonics; mining exploration and extraction techniques; brick, asphalt, and concrete construction; and post-mining land use. Teachers also toured a quarry, a cement plant, and other industrial minerals mining facilities. In addition, the program highlights vocational and professional career choices in earth sciences and related fields, supporting the economic value of Texas mining.
Industrial minerals in Texas have never been so relevant but the general public, including teachers, may not know where these construction materials come from and how they are used. With an estimated 1,400 people moving to Texas every day, in just 10 years the state will require 15-50 million more tons of aggregate, 3-10 million more yards of ready-mix concrete, and 1-3 million more tons of cement.
“Partnering with TMRA on its award-winning education program is one of TACA’s most important initiatives,” said Josh Leftwich, President and CEO of TACA. “Many people do not know that Texas is a top producer of industrial minerals, which are the materials necessary to build essential infrastructure, including vital highways, roads, schools, hospitals, and other commercial, residential, and industrial facilities.”
Taught by scientists, academics, and accredited industry professionals, another aspect of the workshops is that each teacher receives approximately 40-45 hours of professional development. The program is aligned with state requirements, meeting the majority of new education standards for earth science through all grade levels, providing a vehicle for teachers to receive firsthand knowledge of how natural resources are developed and used. Teacher Workshops augment education requirements, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), and the corresponding State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).
“TMRA is committed to providing a first-class, fact-based opportunity for our science educators,” said Charitie Whitman, TMRA’s Education Director. “Through hands-on labs, facility tours, and visits by working professionals, we change perceptions of the industry. Teachers leave the workshop with a more in-depth knowledge of industrial minerals mining, the industry’s commitment to safety, and the value the materials bring to the state’s residents and businesses.”