This teachers rocks!
LCHS teacher Sally Aukamp attends Illinois Teachers Workshop

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[July 21, 2014]  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) on July 14th-16th at Rockford University in Rockford, Illinois.

Sally Aukamp, a teacher at Lincoln Community High School, joined another thirty-five 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 crushed 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 William Charles Construction – Materials Division in Belvidere and Roger’s Ready-Mix & Materials in Byron, Illinois where teachers toured mining operations, witnessed crushed stone and gravel processing, asphalt production and recycling, and searched for fossils present in limestone. Capping off a day of learning about the geological history of the world and fossils found in Illinois, teachers toured the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford to view dinosaur fossils and other plants, animals and depictions of habitats from Earth’s past. A visit to Baumann Park in Cherry Valley highlighted the cooperative efforts between the city and an aggregate mining company to mine out sand and gravel with the intended purpose of transforming the landscape into a park with numerous amenities for the community.

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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 received continuing professional development credit and optional graduate degree hours from Illinois State University.

This was the eighteenth year for the rocks, minerals & mining workshop. Sponsorship for Sally Aukamp was provided by a contribution from aggregate producing company Hanson Material Service. The IAAP is the trade association serving the stone, sand, gravel and non-coal industrial mineral mining industry in Illinois.


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