Teachers from across the state gathered for the Illinois Teachers Workshop: Rocks, Minerals & Mining in Today’s Society.
The Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers presented the sessions July 15-17 at the Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton, Ill.
Morris Community High School teachers Laura Zomboracz, Angela Zarley and Judy Jones joined 33 other 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 aggregates, including stone, sand and gravel.
“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.”
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.
Workshop fieldtrips included visits to active mining sites operated by Bluff City Minerals in Alton and Kimaterials in Godfrey, Ill., where teachers toured an underground mining operation, witnessed crushed stone processing and searched for fossils and minerals present in limestone.
Cookout dinners hosted by Bluff City Minerals, as well as Buckley Powder Company of Pittsfield, preceded hiking on trails at Pere Marquette State Park, where teachers learned about unique geological formations present in the limestone bluffs.
Touring Grafton Visitor’s Center, Piasa Park and Riverview Park in Alton highlighted the geology and history of building stone mined in the area and shipped to cities all along the Mississippi River. The Lodge at Pere Marquette State Park was built from cut stone by craftsmen serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the 1930s.
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 re- ceived continuing professional development unit credits and optional graduate degree hours from Illinois State University.
This was the seventeenth year for the rocks, minerals & mining workshop. Sponsorship for Zomboracz, Zarley and Jones was provided by contributions from aggregate producing companies Hanson Material Service and Mining International.
The IAAP is the trade association serving the stone, sand, gravel and non-coal industrial mineral mining industry in Illinois.