About MEC

The Minerals Education Coalition’s (MEC) mission is to identify, produce and disseminate fact-based K-12 minerals education lessons and activities and to inform and educate the general public about the importance of mining in their everyday lives.

Click here to learn more about the Minerals Education Coalition.

MEC Spotlights


 


Mining & Careers Resources

MEC has created a series of mining & minerals career resources to show students how an interest in STEM subjects can lead to a rewarding career in the mining industry.

Find Mining & Career bookmarks and interviews with mining professionals here.

 

 

Partner of the Month

Grades 6-8

MEC Activities/Teaching Ideas
Discover that all the things we use in our daily lives come from the Earth’s natural resources.
Christmas Activity
Classroom Resources Activity
Clothing Activity
Copper Activity
Geology Natural Resources Activity
How Do We Use Our Land Activity
Light Your School Activity 
Mining Legends Activity
Naturally Yours Activity
Natural Resources Matter Activity
Natures Storehouse Activity
Paper Volcano Activity

MEC Minerals in Your Life Mini-Lessons
Determine how the products we use in our daily lives depend on minerals that are mined around the world.
Bicycle
Cell Phone
Soccer
Television
Teacher Guide & Answer Keys

MEC SMART Board Lessons
Explore important minerals through interactive and ready-to-use SMART board lessons.
Please be patient – this download may take 1-2 minutes.
Coal
Copper
Halite (Salt) 
Lead
Don’t have SMART software? Download the free viewer.
PC Users
Mac Users

MEC AgGREGATES TEACHER GUIDE
This guide will help you get the most out of MEC’s free online educational resources, low-cost supplemental materials, and other available aggregate teaching resources.
Aggregates Teacher Guide (Download)

THE LIFE CYCLE OF A MINERAL DEPOSIT - a TEACHERS'S GUIDE FOR HANDS-ON MINERAL EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
Conduct 10 activity-based learning exercises on finding, identifying, and extracting the resources from mineral deposits and the ways minerals are used in our everyday lives.  The guide, created by the United States Geological Survey, also includes an excellent background information section and glossary.
Life Cycle of a Mineral Deposit (PDF download)
Updated Mineral Usage Statistics from MEC
Educational Standards
The guide supports National Science Education Standards A, B, C, D, E, F and G; Next Generation Science Standards PS1.B, LS1.C, ESS1.C, ESS2.B, ESS3.A; and Common Core State Standards for math and literacy.

ground rules: mining for a sustainable future video and lesson plans
Embark on a 23-minute tour across almost every continent where people are working to produce the minerals on which our modern world depends.  The film, from Caterpillar and Science North, is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, plus English with Chinese subtitles.  Also, choose from the accompanying 75 professionally-developed lesson plans, appropriate for grades 6-12, exploring mining, ore processing, geology, and minerals in everyday life.  The lesson plans are available in English and Spanish. 
Ground Rules 
Educational Standards details (PDF download)
The Ground Rules film and lesson plans support National Science Education Standards A, B, and D; Next Generation Science Standards PS1, PS2, ESS3, and ETS1; and Common Core State Standards for math and literacy.

DIG INTO MINING: THE STORY OF COPPER
Uncover the use of metals such as copper, gold and molybdenum in everyday life and gain a deeper understanding of today’s hard rock mining industry. Discovery Education and Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold have created an interactive program for grades 6-8 that equips educators, students and families with dynamic resources - including a virtual field trip, interactive digital learning tools, and school-to-home connections with career exploration activities.
Dig Into Mining 
Educational Standards  
The Dig Into Mining lesson plans support National Science Education Standards A, D, E, and F; Next Generation Science Standards ESS3 and ETS1; and Common Core State Standards for literacy and math.

SMART, THE INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONAL PORTAL FROM RIO TINTO
Solve math, science and business questions related to real-world operations in the global mining business.  Copper, coal, iron and uranium are highlighted in these lesson plans that incorporate math, science, geography, business, careers, and responses to environmental challenges.  Rio Tinto and EBC Education Ltd. have created an interactive program for grades 6-12, using actual mines and operations in Australia to provide the examples and real data used in the activities.
To access the materials, go to the Teachers’ Centre and register and log in so that you can see all of the teacher information, students worksheets and answer keys. 
Teachers’ Centre  
Educational Standards
The Rio Tinto SMART portal lesson plans support National Science Education Standards A, B, D, E, and F; Next Generation Science Standards PS1, PS4, LS2, ESS3 and ETS1; and Common Core State Standards for literacy and math (including Algebra, Trigonometry, Statistics and Probability, Geometry and High School Functions). 

engineer and build an underground mine activity
Construct a model mine with specific mine structures and show how ore can be extracted from the ground and separated from the host rock through processing.  Activity is from Mining Matters.
Engineer and Build An Underground Mine 
Educational Standards details (PDF download)
The activity supports National Science Education Standards D and F, Next Generation Science Standards ESS3 and ETS1.  

teaming up for environmental action: aggregates activity
Learn about the aggregate industry and explore problems, concerns, and solutions through a group activity.  Activity is from Mining Matters.
Teaming Up for The Environment:  Aggregates
Educational Standards details (PDF download)
The activity supports National Science Education Standards A, D and F; Next Generation Science Standards ESS3, ETS1 and LS2. 

RIO TINTO Kennecott UTAH Copper Virtual Tour
Take a virtual tour behind-the-scenes of Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah. The mine is the largest excavation on Earth and over its history has produced more copper than any other mine. The Kennecott Bingham Canyon Mine also produces gold, silver and molybdenum. Visit the mine, concentrator, smelter, refinery and other facilities through captioned narration, 360o images, and videos. Learn about environment and sustainability efforts that include the “cleanest smelter in the world,” reusing 80% of their water, and creating the 3000 acre shorebird preserve, LEED buildings and a sustainable community. Content is aimed at grades 6-12, though all ages will enjoy the Virtual Tour.
Note: The virtual tour works best with the latest version of modern browsers Firefox, Explorer and Chrome.
Kennecott Virtual Tour
Educational Standards details (PDF download)
The Kennecott Utah Copper Virtual Tour supports National Science Education Standards B, D, E and F; Next Generation Science Standards ESS3A and C; and Common Core State Standards for literacy.

FROM ORE TO MORE VIDEO
This fun 6-minute video from Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Utah Copper tells the story of copper from start to finish, through the mining, processing and end uses of copper, complete with great mathematical analogies for the scale of giant sizes and weights.
Content aimed at grades 4-8, though all ages will enjoy the video.
From Ore To More Video
Educational Standards details (PDF download)
The From Ore to More video supports National Science Education Standards D and E; Next Generation Science Standards ESS3 and ETS1; and Common Core State Standards for literacy and math.

NEVADA MINING ASSOCIATION Virtual Tour
Take a virtual self-guided tour behind-the-scenes of Newmont Mining’s Twin Creeks Gold Mine and Mill. View the mine from an overlook, visit the underground mine (1000 feet below the surface), the gold refinery, process lab, emergency refuge chamber and other facilities through narration, 360o images, and videos. The upper left area has symbols for options like a list of the stops on the tour, a map of the tour, and more information about some of the sites on the tour. Note: The virtual tour works best with the latest version of modern browsers Firefox, Explorer and Chrome. The introductory narration can be silenced with a sound button in the lower right corner area. If this does not work, start again and go directly back to where you were. Content is aimed at grades 6-12, though all ages will enjoy the Virtual Tour.
Nevada Mining Association Virtual Tour
Educational Standards details (PDF download)
The Nevada Mining Association Virtual Tour supports National Science Education Standards B, D, and E; Next Generation Science Standards PS1B, ESS3A and C; and Common Core State Standards for literacy.

NEVADA MINING ASSOCIATION Hands-On Mineral Education Activities
Conduct learning activities all about mining, processing ore, and the properties, chemistry and importance of minerals and their uses. There are 85 lessons in the list, and the table can be sorted by Activity or Grade Level. Note the activities are correlated with older Nevada State Standards. Activities are listed according to grades, K-12, with a good distribution of represented grades.
NMA Activities
Educational Standards (PDF download)
The Nevada Mining Association Activities support National Science Education Standards A, B, D, and E; Next Generation Science Standards PS1B and ESS3A; and Common Core State Standards for literacy and math.

NUTRIENTS FOR LIFE VIDEOS AND ACTIVITIES
These videos and activities from Nutrients for Life show the mining of two crucial nutrients for plants—potash for potassium (K) and phosphate for phosphorus (P). For more information and activities on plant nutrients and soil science, see https://www.nutrientsforlife.org/for-teachers.
Educational Standards
These materials support National Science Education Standards B, C, D, and E; Next Generation Science Standards PS1B, LS1A, LS3A, ESS3 A and C and ETS1; and Common Core State Standards for literacy.

POTASH MINING VIDEO
Potash is a common name for salts that contain potassium. Potassium (K) is an important element in human and animal health, and a major nutrient for plant growth and crop yield. This 5-minute video from Nutrients for Life discusses the process of creating usable potash for fertilizer through two different mining techniques for extracting and processing potash ore.
Grades K-12
Potash Mining Video

PHOSPHATE MINING MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL VIDEO
Phosphate is an important mineral because it contains phosphorus, a key nutrient for adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in plants, in addition to humans and animals. This 6 1/2-minute video by Nutrients for Life shows the process of mining phosphate rock and processing it for use in fertilizer for crops. The largest phosphate deposits in North America lie in the Bone Valley Region of central Florida. Georgia, Idaho, North Carolina, Montana, Tennessee, Wyoming, South Carolina and Utah also have significant phosphate deposits.
Grades 6-12
Phosphate Mining Middle School and High School Video

SASKATCHEWAN MINING ASSOCIATION RESOURCES 4 TEACHERS
Conduct activities about potash, uranium, coal, gold and modern mining techniques. Activities are from the Saskatchewan Mining Association.
Grades 6-8
Potash, coal and new pilot mineral exploration activities
Potash, uranium and coal activities by resource
Potash and Uranium Mining and Mill Tours
Educational Standards
These materials support National Science Education Standards: A, B, D, and E; Next Generation Science Standards PS1B, ESS3A and C; and Common Core State Standards for literacy.

THE CLAY MINERALS SOCIETY EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES
Conduct activities about the properties and uses of clay minerals including kaolin, smectite, and talc. Activities are from The Clay Minerals Society.
Grades 6-12
Kaolin
Smectite
Talc
Clay Scavenger Hunt
Educational Standards
These materials support National Science Education Standards: B, D, and E; Next Generation Science Standards PS1A and ESS3A; Common Core State Standards for literacy.

DIAMONDS EDUCATOR GUIDE
Students will gain a greater understanding of diamond mineralogy, geology, discovery, mining and processing through these materials from Mining Matters (Canada) developed in collaboration with Science North for a temporary exhibition.
Grades 6-12
Diamonds Educator Guide
Educational Standards
These materials support National Science Education Standards B, D, E and F; Next Generation Science Standards ESS3 A and C, and ETS1; and Common Core State Standards for literacy.