About 100 science teachers from local elementary, middle and high schools spent their spring break enriching their minds about Nevada’s rich mining history.
The Nevada Mining Association sponsored workshops and field trips to several Southern Nevada mines or other places of interest, as part of the Southern Nevada Earth Science Workshops. The NMA also sponsors workshops for Northern Nevada teachers.
The program began April 19 at Faith Lutheran Jr/Sr High School, 2015 S. Hualapai Way , where teachers had an opportunity to take a full day of different workshops tailored to their curriculum and grade level.
Some workshops offered materials and mineral samples for teachers to use in their classrooms.
“It was just fabulous,” said Addison Watanabe, a science teacher at the Miley Achievement Center, 5850 Euclid Ave. “I’ve been wanting to go for four or five years now. The workshops are great and I had a blast. The whole thing was just very informative.”
For his field trip on April 20, he visited Las Vegas Rock in Jean and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Watanabe said he plans to attend next year’s workshops and go on a different field trip. He eventually wants to attend the Northern Nevada workshops.
He said he can use this knowledge to get students more interested in earth science because he can explain how the rocks and minerals they’re learning about are in their own backyards.
Clark County School District students first learn about Nevada history and its mining connections in fourth grade. Kids are usually surprised to learn that their home state is the world’s third-largest gold producer behind South Africa and Australia.
Vivian Ramos, who teaches at St. Joseph School, 1300 E. Bridger Ave., also said her experience ultimately will benefit her students.
“I like the ideas and how we can incorporate them into earth science classes,” Ramos said. “We actually learn where the mines are and learn the process of how they drill and extract minerals.
“I’ve got ideas for activities and resources, and I can make real-life connections to make it tangible for them. I might even decide to take the kids on a trip.”
Ramos and about 30 other teachers visited the McCaw School of Mines on the campus of McCaw Elementary School, 330 Tin St. in Henderson, as the final stop of their field trip.
The facility’s executive director, Clyde Caldwell, led teachers on a quick tour of the facility, which boasts a 4,500-square-foot, simulated mine and several educational resources for kids.
The best thing about it, Caldwell said, is that it’s free for students to visit and learn about.
Kids also can leave the mine with more than just knowledge.
During the tour, they learn to pan for gold and get to keep a small bag of it to take home with them.
For more information, visit nvmineraleducation.org and mccawschoolofmines.org.
Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at email@example.com or 224-5524.