These Teachers Rocked the IAAP's Workshop
OGLESBY, 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 Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby, Illinois. Everyone present refreshed their knowledge of earth science and learned so much more about the importance of various industrial minerals, including silica sand mined nearby, cement, stone, sand, and gravel. This was the 20th year for the rocks, minerals & mining workshop.
Lectures and hands-on activities presented by government, industry and academic professionals explored Illinois geology, fossils, aggregate mining, and the rocks and minerals used to make common products. 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 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. Dean Spindler (IDNR Office of Mines & Minerals) invited teachers to tour the agency's Mineral & Rock Box traveling trailer display before he gave everyone numerous rock and mineral samples mined in Illinois.
Fieldtrips led by Don Mikulic (Illinois State Geological Survey) and Skip Nelson (Illinois State University) included a geology walk at the park and visits to active mining and manufacturing sites near Starved Rock State Park. Teachers gazed deep into the Wedron Silica quarry where St. Peter Sandstone is mined, viewed the Western Aggregates construction sand, gravel and ready-mix concrete operations, ventured to the Lafarge Utica stone quarry and watched as rock was blasted from its geological formation, walked inside the Illinois Cement plant and learned how this important component of concrete is made, and visited scenic Rotary Park which was once a large limestone quarry mined by Illinois Cement.
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.