Minerals Education Coalition

MEC Subsection (formerly the GEM subsection)

The Minerals Education Coalition’s (MEC) mission is to identify, produce and disseminate fact-based K-12 minerals education lessons and activities and to inform and educate the general public about the importance of mining in their everyday lives. The MEC is the result of the successful merger of SME’s Mineral Information Institute (Mii) and Government, Education and Mining (GEM) programs.

Helpful links:
Click here for K-12 Education resources from the MEC.
Click here for the Rock and Mineral 10-Specimen Kit Companion Booklet.
       To request an order for the kits, click here.

Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair website.

Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show – Mylan Park, Morgantown, WV – October 8-9, 2016

This is the largest gem, mineral, and fossil show in West Virginia with several displays and experts in the fields of geology and paleontology. Students from WVU attended the event by staffing a booth designed to educate the public on different minerals and their importance in being mined.  The students tested children after they were given a lesson on the minerals.  The children were asked to name a randomly selected mineral.  If answered correctly, they were awarded with a 10 specimen mineral kit, sponsored by the Minerals Education Coalition (MEC).  Over 200 kits were distributed during the event.  It was an enjoyable occasion for those of all ages


Photo:  WVU students working the booth at the Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show. From left to right:  Keegan Patrick, Erica McCauley, Cory Krall, Matt Burton, and Jennifer Smith.

Photo:  Jeremy Deilhmann teaches some children about different types of minerals and their uses.

KiDs LiKe roCkS!

On Thursday March 3rd, Dan Alexander of the SME Pittsburgh Section gave a presentation to 103 third graders and 5 teachers at Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Peters Township, PA. Each student was provided a 10 item Mineral Kit and a booklet to keep. He began each class with a safety share, including how to escape from a fire. Several teachers dressed in PPE ready to go into an underground mine to show some of the safety procedures that are used in mines today. Uses of each mineral were discussed. It was an opportunity to explain where electricity is made, how coal, limestone and iron ore are used to make steel, that you cannot see the gold but it is really in that brown rock, and if it can't be grown it has to be mined!


Photo: The Mineral Kits Provided to Students

Photo: Dan Alexander (SME Pittsburgh Section) and Third Grade Students from Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Peters Township, PA

Photo: Dan Alexander (SME Pittsburgh Section) and Third Grade Students from Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Peters Township, PA

SME-PRSEF Student Award

The SME Pittsburgh Section is pleased to present the SME-PRSEF Student Award to Shanelle of North Allegheny School District. Every year the Pittsburgh Section of SME presents an award at the Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair (PRSEF). The project that receives the award is related to the application of mining and mining engineering or the fields of geology or mineralogy, with a focus on creative or innovative uses of modern technology, such as electronics, computerization, and/or robotics, in mining, mineral exploration, geology, mining equipment, miner safety, or mine rescue.

Shanelle's project is entitled, "Novel Nano-Encapsulation for Rapid CO2 Capture and Emission Reduction".

Abstract: At a time when climate change is becoming a growing national concern, the reduction of carbon pollution from coal-based power plants is gaining increased interest (as shown by the EPA's Clean Power Plan). Current attempts at carbon emission reduction involve Carbon Capture Systems (CCS), however the chemicals currently being used for these systems are toxic amine solutions. Ionic liquids have recently emerged as promising amine replacements, however their characteristically high viscosity slows carbon capture. In an effort to overcome the high viscosities and slow uptake kinetics of ionic liquids, the study aims to confine sorbent ionic liquids within specific nanobubbles, yielding accelerated CO2 capture. Thermo-gravimetric and uptake kinetic analyses are performed to determine the efficacy of this method.

- Ionic Liquids (IL) are thermally stable
- As viscosity of IL increases, rate at which CO2 capture occurs decreases
- Nano-encapsulation increases rate of CO2 capture two-fold
- Nano-encapsulation allows for IL to reach constant mass faster (since small drop of IL is accommodated)

Photo: Heather Trexler, P.G. (SME Pittsburgh Section President) and Shanelle (Student Award Winner)


Photo: Award winning poster "Novel Nano-Encapsulation for Rapid CO2 Capture and Emission Reduction"