NBMG Activities in Public Education

Summer 1991

Many recent studies have made it clear that by national and world standards the U.S. educational system is failing to educate students adequately in science, math and technology. A look at almost any daily newspapers' headlines citing such environmental and economic concerns as the droughts, earthquakes, deforestation and related climate changes, erosion, hazardous waste disposal, and the availability of critical mineral resources reminds us continually of the need for greater science literacy. Recent surveys of our schools show that fewer than 3% of our nation's high school students take earth science courses and fewer than 22% of middle schools offer them. Students need to become scientifically literate members of society to be able to make informed and responsible decisions concerning the Earth's mineral, energy, and human resources.

As the state geological survey, the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology is in position to significantly impact geoscience education in Nevada's schools and to help teachers and students across the U.S. learn more about Nevada geology and its resources. During the past year, NBMG has made a concerted effort to increase its outreach to the local Nevada community and beyond with additional resources and manpower to help give science education a much needed boost.

NBMG offers geoscience information especially as it relates to Nevada and provides organizational and material resources to teachers and students in and beyond Nevada. This effort is coordinated mainly by the Information Office at NBMG, but kudos are due all the earth science professionals, within NBMG and the local geologic community, who donate their time and resources to help make this outreach to the schools possible.

The NBMG Information Office maintains records of unpublished information concerning Nevada's oil, gas and geothermal resources, geologic mapping, mining districts and mineral production, and engineering geology. This office is a state affiliate office for the U.S. Geological Survey's Earth Science Information Center and maintains information concerning the availability of federal, state and local sources of cartographic, geographic, photographic, and remotely sensed data for Nevada and the U.S. Updated indexes, product lists, and ordering information are available for all these data. U.S. Geological Survey geoscience brochures and booklets currently offered free of charge in the Information Office cover such topics as: geologic time, history of the earth, earthquakes, volcanoes, and water and energy resources. Educational tours of this office and other service and activity areas of the Bureau and the Mackay School of Mines geology, seismology, remote sensing, and mining engineering departments can be arranged.

NBMG has joined forces with the Nevada Department of Minerals and the Nevada Mining Association to provide lecturers, classroom exercises and material resources, and field trips featuring Nevada's geology and mineral resources to teachers at two annual Teachers Mineral Education Conferences held in various locations around Nevada.

NBMG is active in the newly formed Nevada Science Math Alliance, providing lecturers and materials to teachers attending the four to six annual meetings where such diverse topics as mining, evolution, computer techniques, and seismology may be presented in an evening.

We have also joined with the Geological Society of Nevada to develop a Speakers and Topics List that is being distributed initially to all Reno metropolitan area schools. This "speakers bureau" network will be expanding to reach all public schools in the state. The speakers are earth science professionals from NBMG, the Nevada Department of Minerals, the Mackay School of Mines, the U.S. Geological Survey Reno Field Office, local mining companies, and consultants in the fields of mineral and energy resource exploration and development.

This same group of individuals was mobilized recently to judge projects at the annual Western Nevada Regional Science Fair held in Reno. The NBMG publications department provides drafting advice to the fair winners to help them prepare their projects for the ensuing national competition.

We are currently creating new teaching exercises concerning Nevada's geology and mineral resources and building a resource library of geoscience materials for use in teaching. Information on radon hazards and earthquakes is being disseminated in classrooms and at public places throughout the state. During the National Science Teachers Association annual meeting to be held in Reno in December 1991, NBMG will be involved in writing geologic guides and leading field trips around the state.

NBMG has recently organized its collection of educational materials into a new publication series called the NBMG Educational Series:

E-1 Classroom Activities for Grades 1-6 (Instructor's manual 1986, 10 pages)

E-2 Mining in Nevada-Activity Book for Grades K-3 (Student book, 32 pages)

E-3 Mineral Education for Grades Three and Four (Instructor's manual, 50 pages)

E-4 Mining Education for Grades Seven and Eight (Instructor's manual, 39 pages)

E-5 Mining Education for Grades Nine through Twelve (Instructor's manual, 125 pages)

E-6 Oil and Gas in Nevada (Student book for grades 4-8, 23 pages)

E-7 Geothermal Resources in Nevada (Student reading/activity book for grades 4-8, 27 pages

E-8 Nevada Mining History: A Documentary Approach (Instructor's manual for elementary grades, 22 pages, 14 posters)

E-9 Nevada Mining History: A Documentary Approach (Instructor's manual for intermediate grades, 34 pages, 14 posters)

E-10 Rotary Drilling (Instructor's manual, 42 pages)

E-11 Mining in Nevada-Have You Thought About It? (Career brochure, 8 pages)

E-12 Mineral Industries in the Nevada Economy (1990, 26 pages)

E-13 Nevada Mineral Producers Map (1990, 15" x 23")

E-14 Nevada Oil (brochure, 1991, 2 pages)

E-15 Nevada Geothermal Electric Power Production (brochure, 1991, 2 pages)

E-16 Earthquakes in Nevada and How to Survive Them (brochure, 8 pages)

E-17 Abandoned Mine Mini-Unit (Instructor's manual for grade four, 1991, 14 pages) E-18 Radon in Nevada--A Natural Hazard (brochure, 4 pages)

This collection is available for examination and copying in the Information Office. For more information on this and other educational activities and resources offered by NBMG, contact the NBMG Information Office at 702-784-6691.

---Becky Weimer Purkey, Geologic Information Specialist