What On Earth Are Your Kids Learning? By Dick Zimmermann

What On Earth Are Your Kids Learning? By Dick Zimmermann

*Here is the latest CAMMAZ press release that was published in The Arizona Daily Independent on November 23, 2015.

Are your children learning what they will need to compete in the job market of the future?  Unfortunately, many are not. Besides the classic three Rs of reading, writing, and arithmetic, students in today’s world need to learn science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM).  Arizona schools are ranked low nationwide, and are particularly challenged in science.

The Coalition of Advocates for Mineral Museums in Arizona (CAMMAZ) was established by a passionate group of educators, engineers, mineral collectors, rock hounds, and scientists, with a common interest in supporting mineral museums and earth science education in Arizona. Members of CAMMAZ believe that earth science education, and especially mineral education, is essential for students to pursue successful careers in science or engineering.

Mineral museums are a powerful education tool.  The many unique colors, textures and forms of natural mineral specimens attract student’s attention, and arouse curiosity.  They are amazed to learn that minerals, extracted from rocks, provide the material for products we use every day. The experience helps them develop an understanding of atoms and elements that is essential for learning chemistry and physics, as well as geology and other earth sciences.

Unfortunately, most K-12 teachers are not trained to provide earth science education in compliance with the state mandated curriculum. Many have little related experience or education, and school districts provide few supplies and teaching aids.  Mineral museums and museum outreach programs can provide teachers with the training and materials they need to successfully meet state mandated earth science education standards.

Mineral museums assist teachers with basic geology by displaying appropriately selected rocks. The concepts of rock types, the rock cycle, faulting, plate tectonics, volcanism, and other fundamental geological principals can be most easily communicated with displays and materials provided by mineral museums.

Some initial supporters of CAMMAZ are already conducting K-12 outreach programs in central Arizona. During the last school year, 5,000 students were served. Students receive hands on instruction in the basics of rocks and minerals, and teachers are provided with free rock and mineral kits and training materials for future use. Unfortunately, the current outreach effort cannot compensate for the closure of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in 2011. That museum served over 40,000 children per year, and provided free training and materials for teachers.

Therefore, an initial CAMMAZ project is the reopening of that museum. Learn more about CAMMAZ by visiting www.CAMMAZ.net and becoming a follower.

Dick Zimmermann

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