Monday, 26 August 2013

2013 "Rock'n the Classroom" GeoVenture Program August 17 - 23rd



Day 1 - Saturday August 17th - Gem of an Orientation Session
Our first 1/2 day together is a chance for everyone to meet the people they are going to be traveling over 4000 km in the next 6 days with by plane, bus, foot and underground Toyota "person" carrier. It is also where the participants get all sorts of neat, colourful and free resources to decorate their classroom with as well as get an overview of the Saskatchewan mining sector, dally in potash kit experiments, and the properties of various rocks and minerals.  We had the pleasure of being joined by Dr. George Read, Shore Gold Minerals, who gave us a "brilliant" presentation on diamonds - flash of celebrity, history, geography as well as the potential of SK.  It was a great and full first day, topped off with members of the Saskatchewan mining sector coming out for a meet'n greet BBQ.  There are 23 of us on this years trip, and with the enthusiasm, knowledge, of this group, we know it is going to be a fantastic week ahead of us.  - Pam Schwann, Executive Director, SMA


Day 2 - Sunday August 18th - Cameco Rabbit Lake Facility and Eagle Point Uranium Mine
It's an early start this day as we grab a quick breakfast at Tim Horton's before boarding the ATR at Westwind Aviation in Saskatoon for the 1 hour 45 minute flight up to Rabbit Lake.  When we get up to the Rabbit Lake Site, we are greeted at the airstrip by General Manager Scott Britton, and then transported to the mill conference room by school buses for our site and safety briefing where we are met by a number of site personnel from the mill, environment, safety & radiation and camp rec director.  Loading up on the yellow school buses seems quite natural for this group.  Following the briefing, we break up into 3 groups for the Underground, Mill and Surface Tours, and we are on our way for a very full day.  I am part of the first group to go underground with our guides or Andrew, (Mining Engineer), Neesha (Geologist) and Jason (Underground mining supervisor).  You can always tell the visitors as they get to wear the stylish, disposable white coveralls.

Eagle Point Underground Mine – Rabbit Lake Complex
Contribution by Scott Sherven, Valley Manor Elementary School, Martensville and Bill Sherven, St. Augustine School, Wilcox

The Eagle Point mine swallowed our group of eight adventurers.  As we descended into the black abyss, the smell of ancient stone overtook us.  The angular rock walls loomed all around us. 
Strapping on the seatbelts for the ride down the decline in man-carrier
We stopped and entered an underground mine refuge center.   The Chilean miners who were trapped underground for weeks a few years ago were in our thoughts.  Water, oxygen and food was available, just in case.
Underground in mine refuge station
We continued on into the dark, hiding from the mechanical creatures snaking through tunnels.  We crept further , squinting into the darkness anticipating what may be around the next curve.  At 100 meters below the earth's surface we reached our destination...
Eagle Point Information Center!   Andrew and Neesha and Jason, our tour guides, told us about the mine....
Athabasca Basin-Unconformity Uranium deposits-meta sedimentary rocks-air vents-Brittle faults and fractures-Mineralization-Blast Holes.
Andrew explains blast hole patterns used to advance the face
We walked back up, our head lamps bouncing off the now friendly rock walls.  We slowly make our way toward the welcoming light at the end of our journey.  Oops! We are late for lunch. 
Bonnie in the drivers seat of a small scoop tram - new career?

Cameco Rabbit Lake Mill Tour
Contribution by: Tegan  McGregor Matichuk, McNaughton High School, Moosomin

We were greeted by our tour guides, Bruce and Dale and got geared up quickly as we were running late. Upon entering the mill we followed our guides as they worked through the stages of the uranium processing from grinding using water and steel balls though leaching with sulphuric acid and sodium chlorate (this was a highlight for the Chemistry teachers in the bunch!)  As we went, we were appreciative of the display boards that were posted about each of the main steps in the processing and purification of uranium.  They were great for visual learners and provided helpful information for us to reference along the way.
Grinding circuit - steel ball mill
Our tour guides patiently and thoroughly answered all of the questions that we had; maybe we asked too many questions as our group seemed to be late all the time J. We carried on to the counter current decanting section of the mill where the huge vats that housed the solution of dissolved uranium was concentrated using an organic thickener.  Our next step was the solvent extraction area of the mill that was made up of large table like pools that again purified and concentrated the uranium solution. At this point, we were asked not to take pictures due to the slight chance of causing a fire…and apparently a solvent fire is not fun?!?
Heading into Solvent Extraction area with Bruce
Our next step was the control room.  Though this room was rather quiet today, it seemed like a place that could get highly stressful when the mill was in full production; 500 alarms per shift seems like a lot for one person to manage on their own, but the operator didn’t look phased in the least.
Mill Control Room
The next stages that we viewed were the neutralizing containers that gradually altered the pH of the solution up from nearly one to close to 12 using large amounts of lime/gypsum (drywall anyone??). This again helps to purify the uranium solution by removing impurities. This was the dirtiest part of the tour; there appeared to be a white coating everywhere! 
Adding lime neutralizes the U-bearing solution
Finally, we were shown to the final step where the uranium is precipitated out of the solution using hydrogen peroxide.  The yellowcake is dried and then placed into large drums, where it is stored to be shipped out of the mine site. At peak production they can make 80-100 barrels a day; wow!
In yellowcake packaging room
The mill is also responsible for dealing with all of the parts of the ore that was not specifically uranium (a.k.a waste).  From the leaching, counter current decanting and solvent extraction processes where solids are removed to the final stage where waste water effluent is treated, it was clear that they take the removal and safe handling of waste products very seriously.

Overall, WOW!! There were so many great learning experiences and practical examples that could be taken into the classroom to engage students. I immediately started making connections to curriculum content that I teach in my classes like balancing equations, sustainable ecosystems, mixtures and solutions, fluid systems, nuclear energy, solubility and concentration calculations. The list kept going and going. Not to mention that the vastness of the plant was just plain awesome. All things considered a very memorable experience.

Eagle Point – Rabbit Lake Uranium Mine
Surface Tour – Nathan Carruthers: Environment Officer

Contribution by Jade Ballek, Learning Consultant, Sun West School Division

As part of our day at Cameco’s Rabbit Lake uranium operation in northern Saskatchewan, Nathan Carruthers led the Geoventure participants on a surface tour of the mine, including the tailings pond and the effluent treatment process. Nathan’s role as an environmental officer involves continual monitoring of water and air quality, as well as dealing with concerns related to wildlife, and overseeing reclamation projects.

The tailings pond itself is a large pit that was at one time the site of the original Rabbit Lake uranium open pit mine. The pit contains various layers of rocks of differing sizes and levels of courseness, acting as a sort of coffee filter. This allows the solid tailings waste to remain in the pond while moving the water out of the pond to be treated before returning to the surrounding environment.
Figure 1 Aerial view of the tailings pond

The effluent treatment process is multi-faceted with many stages of filtering. Water from the tailings pond is sent to the mill for treatment to return the pH levels to surface water standards.

Next, the tailings water is pumped to sediment ponds where the water works its way through a series of three settlement ponds before moving into a building where barium chloride added to the water to further clean the effluent; then the effluent sees another sediment pond.
Barium building and sediment ponds
Sand filtration is the final step in cleaning the water after which the water is released back into the environment. During release, the mine continues its constant monitoring of pH, water temperature and conductivity levels.

At each stage of the treatment process, Nathan and other environmental officers, continually monitor the effluent to ensure that the water quality meets both Saskatchewan and Canadian environmental regulations. As Nathan explains, Cameco takes pride in not only meeting, but exceeding regulation standards. As well, downstream groundwater sampling, invertebrate and fish tests are conducted regularly by independent companies to ensure that the surrounding environment had not been negatively impacted.

Air quality monitoring and reclamation studies make up other environmental duties for the environmental team. After receiving government approval, any reclaimed sites are returned to natural conditions. At one particular site, a steep hill, was hydro seeded with a natural grass mixture. The slope and the thickness of the uncontaminated topsoil covering are both designed to prevent rain and snow from seeping into the waste rock below. This newly reclaimed site will undergo further testing to monitor any seepage for many years to follow.


Day 3: August 19th, 2013 -Saskatoon to Mosaic potash mine at Belle Plaine
Contribution by Larry Bogdan, Avonlea

On the road again with this fantastic tour for teachers. So much of our time as teachers is spent trying to fill the needs of employers, interest groups and individuals, and not just the needs of our students in class. It is so nice having a group giving to us. The mining community is treating us special and everyone seems so eager to help us get this Sask mineral story to the students so that they can connect their learning to the real world around them.

I’ve made the drive between Saskatoon and Regina many times. I keep my eyes open for traffic, cop cars, deer and moose. I always look at the fields to see what crops are growing and how well they are doing. It is great to have someone else do the driving. I look out the bus window and with the help of a written geology and some commentary I can better understand those landscape features that I have seen many times before. It really supports the theory of constructivist learning where new information fits into previous learning.

A few of us were discussing how you can have a “good” farmer and a “poor” farmer only a few miles apart. The “poor” farmer always gets 20 bushels per acre less and can’t afford the larger new equipment and the expensive inputs. You can see the difference between the farmyards on a driveby. So often it is just the difference in the land; the soil and the topography; all the result of glacial activity thousands of years ago. Geology affects us in so many ways.

Human activity is so dependent on the geology of an area. In Saskatchewan we are proud to be a top world potash producer and the government beams with the success of our mining industry. The potash is here for two reasons. The potash was deposited about 400 million years ago by evaporation of an inland sea, and then it was covered by a protective layer that kept it from dissolving away. We are benefactors, in so many ways, of the specific geological events of the past.


Mosaic Belle Plaine Potash Solution mine
Contribution by Mitchell Byrne, Prince Albert

We arrived at the Mosaic Belle Plaine Potash Solution Mine; decked out in our hard hats, reflective vests and work boots.
After a quick lunch, our hosts presented an informative powerpoint presentation on how the mine extracts potash (which is > 1km below the surface) and processes it into products that are used in the agricultural and industrial sectors. Each step was expertly explained during the presentation and the Q&A afterwards; but for a quick run through:
1. Two large shafts are drilled into a potash deposit, called a member.
2. Potash minerals are then extracted from the Earth using heated brine. The brine is pumped into the potash deposit, dissolving the potash, which is then pumped back up to the surface to be processed and refined.
3. The brine containing the dissolved potash is then superheated to evaporate away the liquid brine.
4. The potash then enters a crystallizer, where it is crystalized back together and can be processed into other products.

Our tour guide walked us through the mill; he expertly showed us what we were looking at; taking us nearly to the top of the mill (DON’T LOOK DOWN!!). Unfortunately, the sound level in the mill was so great that many of us had troubles hearing exactly what our guide was saying. However, he was glad to answer any questions we had when we got to a quieter room. He explained to the group how each piece of equipment in the refining process was vital towards producing the end product; if one piece went down, all production had to stop. The end product produced in the mill is pure white potash. At one point in the tour, you almost felt like you were walking in a winter wonderland because of all the white powder surrounding you on the floor. This white potash is unique only to the Mosaic Belle Plaine mine. Other mines located throughout Saskatchewan produce various colours of potash; including dark red all the way to pink (depending on iron content).

The entire tour was very informative for a person who really had no idea exactly how potash could be mined. But what I found most interesting on the tour was not the refining process itself, but the way that the Belle Plane mill packages one of its consumer products, water softener salts. Everything was mechanized and automatic. Being a kid at heart, I got a real thrill out of watching a big machine fill bag after bag with salt, and then to have a robotic arm pick up each bag off a conveyor belt and place each bag in a precise order on a pallet was the highlight of my day. I could have spent the rest of the tour just standing there, memorized, by that perpetually moving arm load one bag after another. Coming from a farming background and knowing what manual labour can be like; watching a robot do the work was a fascinating. I honestly did not want to leave, and needed to be coaxed by a colleague to move from where I was standing and rejoin the tour.

I would suggest this tour for upper level secondary or college level Chemistry courses. The science behind how the Belle Plaine Solution mine and mill extracts and refines the potash is very interesting and the hosts do a great job at explaining the process to you beforehand, so that you have an idea of what you’re witnessing as you take the tour.

Day 3, Monday August 19th, Potash Interpretive Centre, Esterhazy Saskatchewan

From Belle Plaine, we drove east to Esterhazy Saskatchewan, home of Potash Pete, to tour the Potash Interpretive Centre. 

This centre is an awesome educational resource that explains and demonstrates the history of potash exploration and development in the province.  It is a MUST SEE stop for anyone that wants to understand potash in the province – adding to the lustre of this stop was the enthusiasm of John and Ed, retired mining personnel, who were our guides, and whose enthusiasm for potash mining captured everyone’s attention.

John shows us the rotor cutting bits of miner on faux potash face at Potash Interpretative Centre

Day 4: Underground Potash Mine – PotashCorp Rocanville Mine
Contribution by: Cassandra Eskra, Ituna

“Put your ear protection in and turn your lamps on,” said our tour leader as we approached the shaft that was going to take us underground at PCS Rocanville. This shaft is currently one of two at the mine, and the only one that transports people, but that will soon change; the Scissors Creek headframe should be up and running sometime next year. That will allow workers to be transported below ground closer to the current work area. The one that we are riding in will be turned into another production shaft.
             
After 90 seconds we are 1 km down into the earth, and the door of the shaft opens up to what looks like another world. We step out into a high tunnel of rock with lights at the ceiling and a line of vehicles waiting for us. Most of the vehicles are electric to eliminate emissions, and there are a few diesel vehicles, but nothing that runs on gasoline as it is too flammable. We split up into four different vehicles and begin the trek through the tunnels to find a miner (the machine that actually bores into the walls of potash).

The nearest Miner, called “Koala,” is 5 km away. Fun fact: the first set of miners owned by the company was named after bears (Kodiak, Koala, etc), and their more recent set is named after cats (like Panther and Jaguar). It takes a good ten minutes to drive there and all we have is the headlights on our vehicles lighting the way. I can now see why it is protocol to have your personal lamp on underground at all times – it is pitch black! We don’t see another person until we reach the Miner, and there are only two men here when we arrive. I suppose everyone must have been working farther away.  I had no idea of the size of this underground network of tunnels!
Underground at Koala Miner, Rocanville
The Refuge Station is a HUGE room that has doors at both ends and is sealed off from the tunnels. Workers make their way here in the event of an emergency and wait until they are cleared to leave. There is a big metal cupboard with food and medical supplies inside. There is also a very exquisite washroom – a curtain in the corner hiding a pail.

The Miner itself is a large machine with huge four rotors on the front that cut into the face. It has to be sent underground in pieces and assembled there because it is too big to go down the shaft. Our guide told us that a machine like this costs 5 million dollars, but to get it completely up and running with everything it needs costs 30 million! Crazy! After the miner cuts into the wall, the potash is sent out the back of the machine. It is then transported to a series of conveyers that will eventually take the potash to a skip that takes it up the production shaft back to the surface. We had the opportunity to see one of the conveyers close up, but it unfortunately wasn’t running as there was a temporary shut down at the mine. We examined the potash for a bit and searched for the best samples to take back to our classrooms. Taking into consideration Pam’s advice, “Bigger is always better,” (larger samples will not disintegrate as quickly) we filled our bags, got back into our vehicles, and took off in the dark to our next stop:  the Refuge Station.
A potash sample for the classroom
Our underground tour was almost complete and we began to head back to the shaft. On the way we drove through a machine shop. It was so clean and bright, it definitely didn’t look like something I imagined belonged in a mine. We also drove past a miner and had to have its power cord moved so we could get around. Driving over a miner cord is a big NO-NO. When we were safely back in the elevator and heading up to the surface we took a couple seconds to turn off our lights to see just how dark it is. We could not see ourselves blink. I don’t think it was even possible for our eyes to adjust. Finally (90 seconds later) we are back at the top, the underground portion of our tour over.

The mine was unlike anything I have ever imagined an underground mine would be (though I must admit, I had a very na├»ve “seven dwarfs with pickaxes crawling through tunnels” picture in my head before this). There is so much more to it than that! Electricians, machine operators, mechanics, and probably so much more that I am forgetting. Seeing all of this in action underground has opened up my eyes to what professions are involved in this industry and how they make the production of potash “happen”. I don’t know if my students have a similar idea to what I had (cue the seven dwarfs) or not, but either way, I’ll be able to shed some light for them on the working environments in the mine while we are learning about the science behind it. Thanks again PCS Rocanville!   
Rocanville mill complex with tailings pile in background
Day 5: Coal – Sherritt Coal, Poplar River Mine, Coronach
Contribution by: Marc Benjamin, Consul School, Consul, and Kevin Yeske, Jack McKenzie School, Regina

We spent the evening at the Willowbunch golf course as guests of Sherritt Coal. They explained their operation and answered a lot of questions from the tour members. They were especially proud of their safety record and the steps they were taking in reclamation of the coal fields after they were mined out.

As with the other mining companies, they are always looking for workers especially in the trades.


The company is the largest thermal coal producer in the country the particular type of coal they mine in the province is called lignite. They use two of the largest draglines in Canada to expose the coal seam which is removed and sent to the Poplar River power station. This is primarily used to produce baseline electricity for SaskPower.

Grasslands National Park (West Block) – August 21, 2013
Contribution by: Laurel LaBar-Ahmed, Ecole Massey School, Regina and Corrin Cross, Foam Lake Composite School, Foam lake
Our 2013 SMA GeoVenture tour (minus two snake-fearing citizens) arrived in the west block of Grasslands National Park late on a sunny Wednesday afternoon to attempt the 70 Mile Butte trail. So happy to stretch our legs, most participants shed long pants in favour of shorter ones. Those that did not change, wished they had. The weather was picture perfect—hot and sunny - and the trails were great. Despite a valiant effort, three geoventurers began their return trip before reaching the mighty plateau. Those that continued to hike were treated to the expert insights of a teacher extraordinaire hailing from Avonlea, SK. Despite the monumental amount of sweat continuing to bead down the foreheads and backs of all who were present, we persevered through the climb and finally reached the Eagle Butte plateau. Photographers were in their element with beautiful landscapes, interesting flora and fauna, and inspired portrait opportunities.
We gazed at such plants as wild licorice, prickly pear cactus, prairie coneflowers, and various sages, grasses, shrubs, and trees. Lichen were abundant on rocks and reindeer lichen was found on the ground. Wildlife sightings were rare. Although we had been forewarned to look out for rattlesnakes and bison, the only living creature spotted was a short horned lizard. To make up for the wildlife shortage, a gangly twenty-four year old veered off the trail with wild abandon at irregular intervals.

Rocks will never be the same for any of us. Eager beaver hikers scrambled up slopes and scrounged the trails in search of sparkling wonders and other mysterious formations. From gypsum to barite to various clays and iron oxides, rock hounds were treated to a bounty from the earth’s crust. Our two lovely and inspiring geology experts kept everyone apprised of the earthy wonders surrounding us. “Choose a rock that speaks to you” was echoed throughout the hike whenever an interesting formation was stumbled upon. Although we could not take anything physically out of the park, we will take the experience and knowledge with us into our lives and classrooms.

Day 5: August 22, 2013: Eastend – Whitemud Clay Studio & Clay Piles
Contribution by: Bonnie Nayet, St. Pie X School, Regina

Out of all the many adventurous tours that we have experienced this week, the Eastend Pottery Studio and clay piles tour given by Steve Girard connected as an inspiring example of integrating art into the science classroom. Before even falling upon the studio, I was introduced to this gem through its reputation amongst avid pottery fans. One of these pottery fans, my mother, instructed me to meander through the gallery to choose a cup or other piece that “spoke to me”. A piece that fit into my hand perfectly or maybe felt like it was already mine. This advice stood out in my mind as we had been taught earlier in the tour during a hike in the Grasslands National Park to look at the rocks, their shape, their color, their texture to find one that stands out for us. These lessons were teaching me to find inspiration from the Earth and the beautiful rocks that surround us. It is also fueling a newfound interest in Geology.

The upper Cretaceous Whitemud formation has become a source for pottery clay due to its sandy, kaolinized, basal beds. Besides pottery is has also been exploited for the manufacturing of brick, flue tile, tableware and tiles. The sand, when mixed with the clay in the area that was formed in the ancient lakes of the Cretaceous period creates a special kaolinitic clay that reduces shrinkage and cracking of pottery pieces. When visiting the clay piles we were able to see a cross section of the Whitemud unit that is mined and separated into piles according to their ratios of sand and clay content.
Stephen Girard at whitemud clay pit
Girard has become a local expert of these piles due to the experimentation process that he underwent in his early years as a potter. Finding the right recipe for his clay turned out to be true scientific experimentation as he described his daily visits to the clay piles with buckets to collect samples to later fire in the kiln. Eventually he was able to establish the perfect ratio that allows for him to stretch his clay and avoid any brittleness and cracking. He used his chemistry background and knowledge of local geology to inspire and fuel his artwork.

After the clay and sand is brought back to his studio, it is then processed through his “blender”, left to settle, treated so that the air bubbles are released, and then stored for later use. After the art is formed on the potter’s wheel, it is then fired in the hot rock kiln at specific temperatures to create an oxidization and reduction environment. 
Making potters clay

To be perfectly honest, as he was taking us out and showing us his artisan process I was so absorbed with the beauty of the rickety structures, the small town visuals, and the passion with which he spoke that many of the details of this process escaped me. What didn’t escape me was that by watching the clay be thrown and sculpted, and listening to Steve speak I am very motivated to learn the science behind his art. In my own classroom, I have witnessed many of these moments of art inspiring my students to learn science.
Clay on wheel taking shape

The information in this tour could be used to create cross-curricular lessons between visual art and science in the Grade 7 Earth’s Crust and Resources along with Mixtures and Solutions. It can also touch upon other grade levels such as grade one’s using objects and materials, grade three’s structures and materials along with exploring soils, grade four’s rocks, minerals and erosion, grade five’s properties and changes of materials, and grade 8’s Forces, Fluid and Density. In Secondary grades it would be an excellent enrichment project that could compliment any chemistry or earth science topic and serve to motivate students who need to see how science can be applied to life.

My experience in the classroom with connecting the fine arts to science has given me many examples of motivated students who have an intrinsic desire to learn. Today was no exception. As an adult student this visit has stood out for me as an activity that will motivate me to further experiment and learn the science behind the geology and chemistry of pottery. I plan to revisit this studio with my own family so that they too can learn of the history, culture, and science that are involved with this art.

Whitmud Clay Studio
Contribution: Murray Wright, Riffel High School, Regina

While on our GeoVenture tour, we stopped in Eastend, SK, to visit a local potter -- Stephen Girard. After emptying our wallets on his amazing pottery, he showed us his pottery process.

The first stage is to win the 'white mud' clay from the stratified deposits around the Frenchman River. From there he mixes the various types of clay together before drying them in his back yard. Once the clay is ready, Stephen puts the clay inside and puts it through a press that removes trapped air while also pressing it into tubes. These tubes are than formed into kitchen ware, dried, painted and fired. The end result is some of the finest pottery the world over!
T-Rex Discovery Centre, Eastend SK 
Contribution: Bonnie Flahr, Punnichy Elementary School and Jaimee Guenther, Saskatoon

After travelling 1633km and spending the morning learning about pottery and the clay used to make it, we arrived at the big glass building on the hill… The T-Rex Discovery Center in Eastend, Saskatchewan. We were greeted at the door by a giant sized map of Saskatchewan encased in the floor of the lobby. After slight distraction, we made our way into the laboratory where we invaded the work of paleontologist Tim Tokaryk and his crew who were chipping rock away from Plesiosaur samples found in Ponteix, SK. We were educated on too many things to mention, but will highlight a few of the facts that stuck out to us. 
Tim talked about how the T-rex “Scotty” (named after a bottle of Scotch) was found in East end. He showed us a site map of where all the parts of “Scotty”, the heaviest Tyrannosaurus Rex in the world, were found. During excavation Tim made a pretty big PAG (Pic Axe Goof – finding a bone with a pic axe… not ideal).  There were several PAG’s during the dig as the bones were found in varying layers of dirt as opposed to all on one layer.  Another area experienced EPAG’s where everyone had a pic axe goof.  Tim explained to us that Scotty was an unmistakable skeleton of a T-Rex because they found teeth. Tim described the teeth as being like large bananas, they are about 12” long and stuck right into the jaw bone. Typically, the T-rex teeth are not easily found because they can come loose and be transported downstream quite easily. Scotty’s teeth were still intact and hadn’t floated away, which indicated that something was trapping her remains, revealing a near-complete skeleton.  We viewed the femur of Scotty, the vertebra and many other bones of hers.  We also learned about many other dinosaurs, viewed their remains and learned about the casting process. 


From the laboratory, we split into 2 groups.  One group went on a tour of the museum and the other sifted through sand to find remnants of bones and fossils. There were some small discoveries during the activity.  
During the tour, we learned that Scotty was lighter in color than Black Beauty (the T-Rex found near Crowsnest Pass, Albert) because she was found in iron. Black Beauty was found in manganese rich soil which made her bones appear to be black.  They believe that T-Rex’s only use their front arms to push themselves up after feeding.  Their bones are hollow.  The teeth on a T-rex are serrated to help trap their prey. The T-rex is also believed to have excellent sense of smell, due to the discovery of large olfactory passages. 
The museum had a fun machine where you can arm wrestle the “useless” arm of a T-Rex.  Here, Mark Benjamin achieved “strong man” status. 

One of the most interesting displays was that of the asteroid. There were many signs of dinosaurs in the late Cretaceous Stage and the discoveries of remnants seem to decrease in the early Cretaceous Stage. There is evidence of an asteroid hitting the earth.  There are no discoveries of dinosaurs at this level or time, thus confirming that the asteroid is most likely not what ended the reign of the dinosaur. However, it did start the beginning of the Tertiary Stage.
They had a great display showing what our Saskatchewan ecosystem looked like, millions of years ago when it resembled the vegetation similar to Florida. There were many facts about the animals found and how they are related to the animals that we have today.  

The T-Rex Discovery Center was an excellent tour. We learned a lot of interesting facts and saw some amazing artifacts. We ate a lovely lunch of sandwiches and salad.  Did some light shopping and snapped some photos before hopping back on the bus en route back to Saskatoon via Gull Lake and Swift Current.
Scotty's hungry! - Saskatchewan T-Rex is home

Tim describes discovery and excavation of Scotty

Wes doing painstaking work on Plesiosaur in RSM lab
Searching for microfossils

Day 6:  Debrief and Lesson Plan Think Tank

Today was about recap and discussion and planning about how what we saw on the GeoVenture Program could be integrated in to the classroom.  Going through the Geology of Saskatchewan now tied together a lot of the points that we saw on Program –  understanding the basic geology of the province, and the control of the geology on where mineral deposits are found in the province.  We also did a neat hands on activity that simulated how potash solution mining.  Finally we broke up into groups to discuss lesson plans, as well as what resources the SMA could help develop to assist teachers in the classroom.  

A slide show put together by master tweeter @jadeballek capped things off.

Another year- another GeoVenture Adventure with a great group of educators.