Teachers learn about lignite during seminar

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Teachers from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota are learning about a rich mineral found in North Dakota that is used as a source of power: Lignite.

“We mine about 30 million tons of coal to mainly produce electricity for the upper mid-west customers,” said Kay Lacoe, Director of Education. 

The Lignite Energy Council is sponsoring a three-day seminar for teachers and administrators to learn about the use of this coal and to share that knowledge with students.  

“It’s important to give teachers the opportunity to get out of the classroom and hear from industry experts, those that work in the industry, those that live here and really learn about where the electricity comes from,” Lacoe said.  

Middle school teacher Kathy Shott says she loves how something such as snacks can be used as a demonstration of processing lignite and plans on sharing that exercise with students. 

“We’re going to be mining chocolate chips out of cookies to see how that’s done. That’s an activity that we can do in the classroom as well. There’s also one that they’re mining in a cake pan, so using Oreo cookies and then trying to find things in there too would be fun,” Shott said. 

Kelsey Boyce, a middle school counselor, says sharing the process of lignite production may open her student’s minds to pursue opportunities in this industry.  

“We learned the lignite industry here in North Dakota alone employs maybe 3,800 employees and for every one direct job, there’s three indirect jobs created for that. I think it’s important for our students to know that,” Boyce said. 

Organizers hope you will realize that using energy is more than just flipping on the switch and learn about the process of producing it. 

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