The Texas Aggregates & Concrete Association (TACA) will partner with the Texas Mining and Reclamation Association (TMRA) in 2020 on its award-winning Teacher Workshop program. Through this program, Texas teachers learn science-based information on the availability, importance and development of the state’s natural resources.
TACA will augment the industrial minerals workshops by updating and expanding the curriculum to provide more relevant and accurate information on the work of TACA members. Both TACA producer companies and allied members will participate. In addition to the industrial minerals workshops, TMRA offers workshops on the lignite and uranium industries.
To date, more than 1.5 million students have heard the true story of Texas mining and reclamation, with more than 1,500 teachers attending since 1991 and each teacher reaching approximately 130-150 students annually. The program is recognized by the Governor’s Conference on Math, Science and Technology, certified by the Texas Environmental Education Advisory Council and is a professional development provider of the State Board of Education Certification.
“TACA is a great partner for TMRA, with our industries and members having very similar and overlapping goals,” says Ches Blevins, executive director of TMRA. “Together, we achieve an even stronger and more unified voice to represent mining in Texas. TMRA and TACA believe that providing verifiable and unbiased information on the value of our industries to our teachers and students in a consistent and understandable way is absolutely vital.”
During the week-long session, teachers participate in hands-on labs, visit the Bureau of Economic Geology and tour a quarry, reclamation areas and industrial minerals mining facilities, including a cement plant. They also learn about future employment opportunities in the mining industry for their students. Teachers will return to their classrooms with earth science facts and real-world, problem-solving activities that encourage students to use critical thinking skills.
“This is an excellent opportunity for our two associations to work together to help educate teachers about the vital natural resources, including sand, gravel and crushed stone, that help build our state’s infrastructure,” says David Perkins, president of TACA. “TMRA’s Teacher Workshops are known as the gold standard within the industry. We are honored to be a part of the program and look forward to many important contributions.”
During a workshop, each teacher receives approximately 40-45 hours of professional development taught by scientists, academics and accredited industry professionals. The program is aligned with state requirements, meeting the majority of new education standards for earth science through all grade levels, providing a vehicle for teachers to receive firsthand knowledge of how natural resources are developed and used. It augments education requirements, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and the corresponding State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).
Workshop participants leave with curriculum, e-logs and cross sections, instructional and informative PowerPoints and activity equipment—all of which can be used in their classrooms. TMRA has assisted and provided advice to several other organizations to establish similar programs.
For more information on the program, please visit the TMRA Teacher Workshop page.