Ground work - exploring for minerals in Canada

Tuesday, November 23, 1999

Students all across the country are now learning hands-on about the importance of minerals and mineral exploration through an interactive CD-ROM produced as a collaborative effort between the Geological Society of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) and Science North in Sudbury.

The project was designed by Science North and is on display in their facilities at Sudbury. It can also be viewed on their website. Brenda Koziol, Science North, proposed, coordinated and was primarily responsible for the design and development of the Ground Work CD-ROM. She said the response has been strong - the game is on display at the Big Nickel Mine, part of Science North, where it is tested by the many visitors. "I think it's been very well received," she said. "I've given out well over 50 copies, upon request from teachers visiting our facilities." The CD-ROM tests students' knowledge with quizzes about minerals and mineral exploration. The answers to questions such as 'What was the total value of metal production from Canadian mines in 1996?' and 'What were the top two metals?' can be found in the Ground Work program. Users carry out "virtual" exploration programs for various types of mineral deposits using geological, geochemical and geophysical information and aim to "spot" drill holes and discover a "virtual" deposit. The case history of the Voisey's Bay deposit is included as an example.

More than 4,000 copies have already been distributed to schools across the country to be used as teaching tools. "It's (the CD-ROM) a wonderful addition to our science and geoscience unit," said Maureen Lipekewich of the Mining Association of British Columbia's Educational Program, who has distributed 400 copies of the CD-ROM as part of their educational kits. "Teachers need so much in the way of resources and any extra tools are a bonus. The teachers said it would be great fun for the class."

"Though I've yet to use it in the classroom, I have checked out the game," said Eric Rustand, a teacher at Norkam Secondary School in Kamloops who developed the science unit for the MABC education program. "It's well laid-out, and easy to follow. It forces the user to think about mineral exploration and forces you to problem-solve."

According to Linda Lilge, project coordinator, PDAC Mining Matters, more than 1000 copies of the CD-ROM have already been distributed in the Mining Matters educational kits and another 2000 copies will be included in educational kits distributed to grade four teachers this year. "The CD-ROM is a great addition to our unit," she said. "It's another activity students can get involved in."

Copies of the CD-ROM have also been distributed to schools throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador, and Saskatchewan. The program is bilingual, and can be run on either Macintosh or IBM-compatible computers (both versions are on the CD-ROM). The CD-ROM is distributed by the Geological Society of CIM to any interested educators.

For more information, or to obtain a copy of the Ground Work CD-ROM, contact:

W.D. Sinclair, Publications Chair
Geological Society of CIM
c/o Geological Survey of Canada,
601 Booth Street,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E8
Tel.: (613) 992-9810
E-mail: sinclair@gsc.nrcan.gc.ca).

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