UA SRP Develops Mining Modules with Tohono O’odham Comm. College

The University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) has been developing educational modules related to mining in collaboration with Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC). Led by UA SRP investigator Dr. Karletta Chief and director Dr. Raina Maier, a team of graduate students and UA SRP personnel have met with TOCC professors to identify educational needs and develop modules related to mining on tribal lands. The mining module format is based on the successful Promotora transferable training module series that has been developed by the UA SRP, but modified for a unique audience.

Jennifer Stanley recently received a Master’s degree in Agricultural Education following development and implementation of a module on “Copper Mining and Processing,” which included a focus on tribal lands and a hands-on activity illustrating copper electroplating. Ms. Stanley received feedback on module content from tribal mining consultant Addison Smith, local and international mining experts, as well as mining company Freeport McMoRan. She delivered the module to Dr. Teresa Newberry’s chemistry class at TOCC in December, 2012. Dr. Chief reports that the participating students, “were engaged and interested; they asked questions and expressed interest in visiting a mine site.”

Graduate students Tobi Maracle and Carime Koch (American Indian Studies) and Shelby Rader (Geosciences) are the latest members to join the mining module team. They are working to develop “Copper Mining and the Environment” and “Copper Mining and Public Health” modules. In April, 2013 they were invited to Dr. Newberry’s Biology class to give a presentation on “Reclamation of Mine Tailings Site in Arid Environments.” They developed a number of related hands-on activities as well as an interactive “Jeopardy!” game for the students. “The hands-on activities designed by our UA graduate students clearly engaged the TOCC students and it was wonderful to sit back and watch their hard work pay off in a successful learning experience” said Dr. Maier of the presentation.

The UA SRP looks forward to continuing our relationship with TOCC as we complete and test additional mining modules.