SA Mines and Energy Journal : October-November 09
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2009 SA MINES & ENERGY JOURNAL 32 EDUCATION The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious, " Albert Einstein said. This sense of mystery was evident in the beaming faces of children who flocked to see the interactive displays at the South Australian Museum during this year's National Science Week. SACOME delivered a bevy of popular classroom favourites -- cookie mining, mineral detectives and a do-it-yourself gravity survey -- with each activity teaching the children about mineral resources and their potential. Cookie mining demonstrates the economics of mining: how a mine is developed, how investment upfront can bring rewards later, how the surrounding environment is affected, and how profit can be made with the ore mined. Two of the young visitors, 11-year-old Liz and six-year-old Grace Xu, said this was their favourite activity, "because we learned about mining and got to eat chocolate-chip cookies at the same time!" The girls were the winners of SACOME's "Guess the weight of a dump truck" competition, with both guessing close to the weight of the 130,000kg Liebherr truck featured on a poster. SACOME members Maris Zwigulis (Chief Geologist at Stuart Petroleum), Andrew Querzoli (Sinosteel-PepinNini), Sarah Lawley and Kim Ferguson (KBR) assisted children in their resources challenges. Mr Zwigulis had children and parents mesmorised with his extensive knowledge of minerals and their everyday uses. He guided them through a fascinating series of experiments to identify the precious mineral samples, and said the "touch and feel mode" had the biggest impact. "When they got a chance to hold the mineral and compare weight, there was a connection. The stand-out one was the magnet -- when they checked out the five minerals and found one was magnetic, they could all identify it. " Environmental physicist Sarah Lawley relished the opportunity to share her passion for physics by explaining how gravity surveys were used in conjunction with magnetic surveys to identify prospective rocks for potential economic mineralisation. Where the rocks are very dense in contrast to the surrounding rocks, their gravitational pull is stronger and can be measured by geophysicists with a gravity meter. Children and parents enjoyed the rare opportunity to see how this process works. Feedback from the event was positive. "It's been great to have hands-on experiences, " said Sharon Morris, Manager of Community Engagement at the museum. "The visitors are so engaged in their learning. " The Open for Science program attracted 16,000 children and adults over the two weekends. If the enthusiasm shown for these activities is any indication, then the resources industry has some budding young engineers and scientists in its midst. SACOME is committed to delivering such enriched learning opportunities to young people and thanks both the South Australian Museum and industry volunteers who made this event such a success. Beautiful young minds Science has the power to attract both the young and young at heart, writes Emma Hughes, SACOME Manager, Careers Promotion. Julie Choi mines choc chips from cookie. Andrew Querzoli demonstrates a graviy survey.