HENDERSON, Nev. - It looks real enough, but this mine isn't nestled deep in the Spring Mountains. Rather, it sits next to Gordon McCaw Elementary School in Henderson.
Besides resembling a real mine and teaching students about math, science and the history of the mining industry in Nevada, the McCaw School of Mines offers something else unique. Some of the teaching is done by the students.
Fifth grader Zach McAdams teaches about diatomite and other minerals. Outside the McCaw mine, fifth grader Jade Deans helps fourth graders pan for gold and silver.
It's one stop on the tour she has planned. "We're going to be taking a group around the mine here, helped them throughout the years," she said.
Jade and Zach are "mighty miners" - students at McCaw who teach the history and importance of the mining industry to our state. To Rick Stater, manager of the Tronox Plant in Henderson, the McCaw School of Mines is a great way to reach a future generation of scientists and engineers.
"We have an interest to educate, so we got involved with this school many years ago," he said.
Tronox and its predecessor donated much of the equipment from an old mine in Pioche. While there may not be real gold to be struck at McCaw, the school is striking pay dirt when it comes to educating its students.