Mineral Resource Discovery

About

The Mineral Resource Discovery is sponsored by the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources and the Department of Geosciences. This outreach program is designed to teach grade 6-12 students about the science and engineering behind copper mining, one of Arizona’s most important industries. This program integrates geology, engineering, chemistry, physics and environmental science to show the real-world application of science, engineering and math. Advances in these fields allow humans to extract mineral resources in increasingly cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways and future advances lie with the generations of innovators to come! The workshop is facilitated by undergraduate students at the University of Arizona. 

Program goals: 

  • Show students how science, technology and engineering concepts are used in a real world setting and in applications that affect our lives.
  • Illustrate how our world depends on mineral resources (earth materials mined from the ground).
  • Introduce students to some of the stages in the life cycle of a mine and create awareness of the variety of technical/scientific jobs needed in the mineral industry. 

Workshop Stations:

  • Formation of porphyry copper: Students learn about magmatic-hydrothermal systems that form copper deposits in the earth. Simple experiments show how changes in pressure and temperature create the perfect storm of conditions for a copper deposit. 
  • Mineral Exploration: A layered sandbox provides students with the opportunity to undertake a geophysical survey and drill (with a straw) beneath the surface to find a mineral deposit. Students record their findings by logging core and marking a map. 
  • Mine Planning: Students are given the opportunity to tinker with the big data software that provides mining engineers with all the details needed to design the mine before permits are obtained. Simple math problems are given to demonstrate the cost and savings of seemingly small changes on the mine.
  • Mineral Processing: Turning rock into copper metal takes a few steps and a lot of chemistry. Students undertake hands-on experiments in leaching, electroplating and froth flotation. 
  • Environmental Effects of Mining: Students are introduced to environmental hazards around a mine including acid mine drainage, dust and heavy metals. A sandbox/water table is used to show how rain and erosion can increase risks and solutions for monitoring and mitigating hazards are discussed.

Program Details

Audience:

6th - 12th grade

Group Size:

10 - 35 students

Timeline:

Spring Semester

Wednesdays and Fridays

January 27th - April 26th

Arrival Time:

9:15 a.m.

Program Time:

9:30-11:30 a.m.

Duration:

2 hours

Pricing

Standard K-12 School/Youth Organization

Base Rate: $80 for up to 10 participants

+ $8 for each additional participant

  • Optional Exhibits and Show Add-on
    • Separate registration required (click Science Center Exhibit or Planetarium Show Visit)
    • +$4 per participant to add on exhibits (adds one hour)
    • +$4 per participant to add on a planetarium show (adds one hour)

Title I K-12 Schools

Base Rate: $60 for up to 10 participants

+ $6 for each additional participant

  • Optional Exhibits and Show Add-on
    • Separate registration required (click Science Center Exhibit or Planetarium Show Visit)
    • +$3 per participant to add on exhibits (adds one hour)
    • +$3 per participant to add on a planetarium show (adds one hour)

Grant Funding

Limited grant funding is available for Title I schools for Discovery Workshops. Contact us for details.
(NOTE: Grant funding covers the cost of the discovery workshop only. It does not cover the optional add-on experiences.)

Teachers and Chaperones

Teachers are free.

Chaperones are the same price as a participant listed above ($6 to $8 each). 

Due to room capacity in the Discovery Labs, the number of adults accompanying your group is limited to 5.

 

Scheduling

  • Select Mineral Resource Discovery

Contact

For information about scheduling programs, please contact:
Heather Parra
heatherparra@arizona.edu
520-626-1032