The Briefcase of Mineral Applications - Interview with Dr Miho Taka
The Briefcase of Mineral Applications game tests your knowledge of the minerals needed in everyday objects. Try it out and share the resource here.
Chairs of the CMA’s public perception of mining group Lucy Crane & Ben Lepley interviewed Dr Miho Taka, Assistant Professor in Peacebuilding at the Coventry University Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations. Her particular subject of interest is the governance of minerals and mining in relation to both sustainability and social conflicts.
This interview explores how to enhance social awareness of minerals and mining beyond those in the industry itself. Guest speaker Dr Miho Taka discusses her involvement with a project aiming to increase engagement through accessible, interactive and informative ‘briefcase’ sessions and educational resources for communities and schools.
Mining and minerals encompass interdisciplinary issues often neglected in the school curriculum, yet they are fundamental to understanding the material world around us and the unseen social and political processes embodied in everyday objects and activities. Dr Taka has been working on The ‘Briefcase project’, funded by EIT Raw Materials, which aims to educate wider audiences through interactive, interdisciplinary educational resources about minerals, their properties, uses and social contexts. According to Dr Taka, the ‘briefcase’ demonstrates the importance of minerals and their surprisingly diverse roles in society, and helps to inspire more pupils about the possibility of safer, cleaner and more ecologically viable ways of mining.
More about the 'Briefcase project':
Creative teaching resources can be accessed on the ‘Briefcase’ website, including interactive online games to explore different minerals and the products they are made into.
The project also trains up new educators who then go on to schools to give an educational ‘Briefcase’, whereby educational institutions can borrow a physical kit with real minerals and an engaging session full of games to engage students and connect minerals with their societal importance and uses.
A briefcase workshop given in the Transport Museum in Coventry was a great success with pupils, and involved a session tailored to the context of the area and the local relevance of tin in particular, and gave pupils the chance to handle real mineral ores as part of the session.
The next stage of the project is in progress, and involves virtual reality allowing anyone to explore and experience what mines are really like and see minerals in their natural habitat (virtually)!
Explore the free online resources here.
Article by Emma Maia Smith, MSc Environment, Politics, Society, University College London (UCL)