Mineral Resource Education at Georgia Southern University
Limited public knowledge of the sources of industrial minerals and the applications of essential raw materials may influence the direction of state or national regulatory trends and budgets with negative consequences for mineral resource industries. The lack of appreciation for industrial minerals and current mining methods contributes to the difficulty in permitting new quarry operations or expansion of active sites; although the operations may contribute to the local economy and reduce construction costs. Georgia Southern addresses the deficit in mineral resource knowledge by incorporating mineral science in graduate courses for teachers, advanced undergraduate courses for science majors and introductory courses that are open to all majors. The Department of Geology and Geography uses an in-house introductory Environmental Geology laboratory manual that begins with a chapter on metallic and industrial mineral resources. The manual includes a project-based learning exercise in which students use X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) to identify mineral components of household and construction products. The students explore the physical properties of the minerals to determine their function in the product. Development of the XRD exercises and purchase of equipment was funded by NSF CCLI grant(DUE 0311730). Geology majors and science education majors may take an Economic Mineralogy course that includes both industrial and metallic mineral resources. The Department began summer development programs for teachers in 1988 supported by Eisenhower Higher Education funds. Concurrent regional geology and mineral resource courses used a combination of lectures, labs and weekly field trips to mines and quarries. Teachers collected minerals, rocks, ores, fossils and photographs that were used as their teaching collection in the fall. The NSF Partnership for Reform in Science and Math also supports teacher development with funds for mineral science workshops and assistance for teachers attending other development programs. Summer programs for earth science teachers are one of the best routes to improving public knowledge of mineral resources as the transfer of information to a larger audience begins immediately and continues throughout the career of the teacher.
Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (GSA)
Vance, Robert K., Fredrick J. Rich, Gale A. Bishop, Pranoti M. Asher.
"Mineral Resource Education at Georgia Southern University."
Geology and Geography Faculty Presentations.