Teachers dig through a wealth of information at the Carson City workshop

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Beverly Vugteveen, foreground, who will begin the 2021-22 school year at Under the Magic Pine Tree, a preschool in Gardnerville this fall, examines various rocks and minerals on Tuesday with volunteer Patti McClelland, left, and with Karen Kimber , far left, of Flag View Intermediate School of Elko also attended the Nevada Mining Association’s 36th Annual Northern Nevada Mineral Education Workshop in Carson City on Tuesday. (Photo: Jessica Garcia / Nevada Appeal)

Teachers Shaun Minor from Sutro Elementary School in Lyon County and Diana DiSalvio from Tony Alamo Elementary School in Clark County were busy trying to understand the physical properties of popcorn salt and eye shadow at their station Tuesday at the Lutheran School in Bethlehem. They examined each item with reference to a colored chart delineating the qualities of hardness, color, drag, luster, and fracture often determined by geologists or via laboratory equipment.
When Minor and DiSalvio return to their classes in the fall, they want to be able to tell their students that the objects they use in their daily lives are made up of so much more than they understand.
“Toothpaste comes from calcite,” DiSalvio said as an example. “We’re trying to decide (if these things were) metallic, waxy, earthy. Children would realize that the things they have everyday all over the place would come from things in the ground, not just that they go to the store and see them and that these are non-renewable resources.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Nevada Mining Association hosted its 36th annual Northern Nevada Mineral Education Workshop in Carson City. The training helps Silver State Kindergarten to Grade 12 teachers develop mining and mining lesson plans for use in the classroom.
About 40 instructors took part in the rocks and minerals exam on Tuesday, then took a mining tour to understand how mining works in action.
Educators from all parts of the state, including Elko, Gardnerville, and Las Vegas, seeking continuing credit, eager to help their own students learn about the earth sciences and the mineral industry at their back to school in August.
Beverly Vugteveen, who just finished this school year at Bethlehem Lutheran and is moving to Gardnerville to start Under the Magic Pine Tree, a local daycare and daycare, for the year 2021-22, spent part of her Tuesday reviewing some rocks along with Jill Wilkinson and Karen Kimber, teaching partners of Flag View Intermediate School in Elko.
Vugteveen has been married to a geophysicist for 34 years, “so (science) is part of our life,” she said.
“But I love to see how we can help our students realize how comfortable mining is in life,” she said. “So often now, because we focus so much on our tech world and our ecology, we forget that if we shut down all the mines, well, are you ready to ditch your cellphones, your kitchen, basically, all the pipes? your house, your wiring in your life? There are so many things we take for granted.
She said she loved seeing her smallest preschool students react with “great surprise” at their young age as she taught them about resources extracted from the earth.
Tire Gray, president of the NMA, said the workshops are an opportunity for the association to collaborate with educators and equip them with the right tools to teach students in the classroom. Gray, a former educator and lawyer at law firm Fennemore Craig, took over from his predecessor Dana Bennett just before the pandemic hit last year and said reassessing his strategic plan had become a priority. This included creating a better partnership between the mining industry and education.
“STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is where education is focused, and that’s where our future is,” Gray said. “It’s about being able to reduce our carbon footprint, and mining is the very first link in that supply chain. “
Mining, once Nevada’s largest industry and now its 12th largest, is expected to contribute more than $ 300 million in tax funding to the state’s education system, Gray said, adding that Silver State was right to allocate these dollars because teachers must continue to be recertified. .
“Today it’s about making sure teachers have the resources they need to be in the classroom,” he said. “We always say mining is about careers, not jobs.”
The workshops themselves, normally attracting around 50 teachers and typically offered several times a year in several locations across the state, including Clark County, were limited to Carson City this time around the end of the pandemic. Gray said the NMA was aware of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines. So, this week’s event brought together only nearly 40 teachers, mostly from Kindergarten to Grade 12, with the help of the Nevada Minerals Division and the University of Nevada, staff or Reno volunteers, Gray said.
Lucia Patterson, a geologist and field specialist with NDOM, came up with various activities that teachers could offer in their classrooms, such as a timeline of a half-football pitch depicting humans in inches with a script talking about the story. of the earth. She also developed a bingo game during the fossil education pandemic that she says is effective for several age groups. She also said that there are also a variety of videos to help make the lessons digital as well.
“It always seems like there is a kid in every classroom where (science) is their spark,” she said.
Patterson, who received her bachelor’s degree from Chico State University and her master’s degree in economic geology from the University of Nevada at Reno, explored gold deposits for six years before coming to NDOM where she now does. cards and provides education and awareness.
“You never know when you’re going to have this kid sitting there thinking, ‘Oh, my God, that’s what I want to do,’ she said.
While Tuesday was an opportunity to assimilate these lessons in class, Wednesday’s field day was an opportunity for participants to get a live view of a mine site and see how the process works. is ecological. Participants had the opportunity to explore the Stewart Indian School Museum and Cultural Center in Carson City, where visitors can see the facilities, the walking trail and the history of craftsmen, masonry and buildings in stone facilities.
Gray said that allowing educators to enjoy mining helps them pass it on to children effectively.
“It’s not about gold or silver, it’s about our children,” he said. “I have two kids, 4 years and 8 months old, and they’re going to be in our school system… and everyone here is making sure the education is right.”
He also said working in mining was “the best job in the world.”
“We play as adults, we always see those huge Tonka trucks, don’t we? But without really approaching to see, it is difficult to appreciate it. Often from an environmental perspective, often people have a negative connotation about mining, but they come to a site. … We make something come out cleaner than we even took it out.
He added that the mining footprint in the state is also small, although its impact is large and it is important to look to the future as its population continues to grow.
Gray thanked the teachers, volunteers and his staff who came this week.
“I have a great team and staff, and we want to thank NDOM who have been a great partner, thank all the teachers for taking the time to come,” he said. “They could have done it online, could have done it anywhere else, but their interest in mining is what really fuels us and what will continue to provide the workforce of tomorrow and our industry. . “


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