IQA trials education program in schools

Grade 3 and 4 students at Nyora Primary School, in South Gippsland, Victoria, have had firsthand experience in a nearby quarry as part of the term 3 program developed by IQA CEO Paul Sutton, in conjunction with the Metro Quarry Group (MQG) and the school.

MQG planning and regulatory manager Ryan Messer said the school was chosen as there was strong interest in working on a community program like this.

“While being the smallest school in the region, with only 30 students ranging from Prep to Grade 6, they were very supportive of the program,” Messer said. “As quarrying is a large part of the surrounding community, this was a great way to deliver the current curriculum but with a twist.”

Messer said MQG opened its gates to the school for a half-day educational quarry tour in August.

“The day started off with a safety briefing, which included the handing out of PPE and explanation of why we wear it. A group tree planting activity was then done to show the class the environmental side of quarrying,” Messer said.

Site visit

Nyora Primary School principal Karen Farbus said the quarry visit had been a highlight, with the younger students saying they loved seeing the equipment that their parents used —  for example, a dump truck but on a larger scale.

“It was good how all areas of the quarry were looked at, including the safety talk where students had a clear understanding of the purpose of safety gear and safety at the quarry,” Farbus said, adding that students now better understood the MQG quarry operations, as well its role within the community.

{{image2-a:r-w:300}}The next program on the day was a rotation through four planned activities: machinery education (machines used on-site and why); the quarry tour (explaining the geology and material types); sand experiment (a hands-on experience of the material and how sand is processed) and a wash plant tour (raw materials turned into final product).

“The students loved being able to see the quarry in operation, climb on the equipment, have a tour around the cut and sort sand,” Farbus said.

“Having the equipment in one place on our quarry visit gave our students an opportunity to really experience how big they are, what they can do and the diversity of the equipment,” she said.

“The program has broadened student experiences, giving them an opportunity to see it from many different perspectives. Even understanding the different types of sand and how it is used in the community,” Farbus added.

Messer said what was most surprising was the students’ existing knowledge base, from what they have already learnt through family members in the industry and how much they picked up by being face to face with the quarry.

Program units

Sutton said he was very pleased to know that the learning and teaching program got off to a great start and that the tablets arrived safely to be used as part of the program.

{{image3-a:r-w:275}}“I am more than happy to provide further input into the learning packages I have written, if required by the school’s staff,” Sutton said, adding that experiential learning opportunities were very much ideal for this age group.

To date, four units have been included in the program:

• What constitutes a quarry.
• Quarry products and processes.
• Quarry role in caring for the environment and community.
• Need for quarries.

“The units of the program were developed by Paul using his experience in both primary school education and the quarrying industry. We were very fortunate to have Paul’s support and assistance in developing this program,” Messer said, adding that the program matched the school curriculum.

“Having an outline of the unit with supporting resources enabled the teachers to present the unit in a logical and interesting way to best support our students’ learning needs and interests,” Farbus said.

“The teachers were able to add and modify the units to suit the students in their class, which is important within a multi-age class structure.”

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