National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) 2023 Conference Atlanta


MEC participated in the 3-day NSTA National Conference on Science Education held at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA, on March 23-25, 2023. MEC volunteers actively engaged with over 2500 teachers who visited the booth. Katie Kosloski, a mining engineer for Luck Stone, was planning chairperson for this event.  MEC volunteers talked with the teachers and handed out over 2000 free rock and mineral boxes, plus additional educational resources, posters and flyers to help the teachers educate their students on the importance of minerals and mining. The excited teachers who lined up in large numbers to make their kits learned about the ten different rocks and minerals from the volunteers.  There were samples of siltstone, anthracite, phosphate, halite, granite, taconite, ilmenite, limestone, chalcopyrite, and kyanite.  Volunteers explained where the rocks and minerals are mined and how they are used.

Another part of the booth had tables with presentations and discussions with volunteers on the following topics:

  • Mobile Minerals – hands-on samples of the minerals found in cell phones, such as copper, halite, pyrite, chrysocolla, bismuth and ulexite, and information about where they are mined.
  • Automation & STEM – technological advances in automation that make mining safer and more economical were highlighted.
  • Education & Careers – discussion of the need for mining professionals in a wide variety of disciplines, and of the mining schools in the US.
  • Jobs of Tomorrow – this area featured SME’s new videos geared toward educating the young audience to explore career pathways and sustainable workforce in the mining, metals, exploration, and underground construction industry.
  • MEC Store – how to find low-cost materials and supplies at the MEC Store.
  • Floating Aluminum Orb – a demonstration by Wendi Cooksey showed that the valence shell of an aluminum atom craves electrons. Transferred from a statically charged PVC pipe, too many electrons move to the aluminum tinsel causing it to puff out and repel the charged pipe and float above it.  This demonstrates the disproportionate amount of energy needed to process aluminum, thus showing the importance of recycling aluminum cans in saving energy.

On this page you’ll find links to many of the resources we discussed in our interactions, as well as some more that we may not have had time to mention. If you have questions about any of this content, or anything related to minerals education, please reach out to us at

Infographics From the Booth
Where the Minerals Are (New Scientist)
Evolution of Mining Health and Safety (Workplace Safety North/Ontario Mining Association)
A World of Minerals in Your Mobile Device (USGS)
The Raw Materials That Fuel the Green Revolution (Visual Capitalist)
Our Energy Future Depends on Mining (Minerals Make Life—NMA)
The Future of Mining is Automation Poster
Automation Helps Mines Be More Productive Poster
Automation Keeps People Safer Poster
Mined Minerals Make Our Day (Caterpillar)

Local and Mobile Minerals
MEC Mineral Resources Database
Mineral Usage Statistics
Minerals in Your Life
Importance of Mining
State Mining Agencies (MSHA)
Minerals in Mobile Devices (USGS)
Apple Environmental Overview
Minerals Needed for Solar Energy
Minerals Needed for Wind Turbines
Minerals Needed for Hybrid Cars
Minerals Needed for Cell Phones
Article: Finding “critical minerals” used in cell phones and electric vehicles among goals of new USGS lab in Colorado

STEM and Automation in Mining
STEM Resources (Dig Into Mining)
Mining and Minerals Resources  (STEM Learning—UK)
NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge
Article: Japanese Spacecraft Landed on Asteroid and Sent Us a Selfie
Article: Race to Send Robots to Mine the Ocean Floor
Article: Caterpillar’s Mining Automation Journey
Article: Lithium Americans  (Nevada STEM Hub)
Article: EP Minerals takes STEM to a new level (Nevada STEM Hub)
Article: Automation and its Effect on STEM Occupations. Economic and Ethical Impact
Article: Mining in Space: What It Means for the Economy?
Latest news on mining at

Safety, Sustainability and Reclamation in Mining
Video: Ground Rules: Mining Right for a Sustainable Future
Ground Rules Lesson Plans (Total: 75)
Reclamation Stories
Mine Rescue Contests (MSHA)
Mine Safety
Stay Out–Stay Alive: Public Awareness Campaign
Article: Apple Talks Recycling in Environmental Report
Article: Apple’s $4.7B in Green Bonds support innovative green technology
Audio Interview: Conversation with a Reclamationist

Careers and Mining Education Opportunities

Jobs of Tomorrow
Careers in Mining
Schools of Mines (Wikipedia)
Article: America’s Security May Depend On Critical Minerals. But Mine Workers Are Scarce
Article: Why It’s the Right Time to be a Mining Engineer
Article: What Does a Mining and Geological Engineer Do?
Video: STEM Pro Live! Interview with Two Freeport McMoRan Geologists
Video: STEM Pro Live! Interview with a Freeport McMoRan Chemist
Click here for more interviews!


The MEC website has an abundance of free K-12 educational resources and low cost supplemental materials.

/K-12-education is especially for teachers!  From this page, you can access the MEC Education Database as well as the educational standards teacher tool.

/store has posters, kits and other low cost supplemental education resources to enhance your classroom.

/mining-minerals-information is the place to start exploring more about mining and minerals and how important they are to our daily lives.  From here you can access the Mineral Resources Database, the interactive Periodic Table of the Elements, and more.

/careers focuses on jobs in the mining industry.  The minerals and mining industry has a host of exciting, well-paying, STEM-related careers.

/esw is the place to access all of the educational resources MEC has developed yearly for the American Geosciences Institute’s Earth Science Week celebrations.

/stats takes you to the popular MEC Mineral baby, updated annually to show the quantity of minerals an American will use in their lifetime.

Download this MEC flyer

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Facebook: MineralsEducationCoalition

Twitter: @meceducation

Thank you for your commitment to teaching important concepts in Earth Science.  Please reach out to us with any questions at!