Where in the World is Mineral Sandiego

Tuesday 3:10pm-3:30pm Bruininks 131A
Teaching Demonstration Part of Tuesday Teaching Demos


Angela Daneshmand, Santiago Canyon College


The teaching demonstration will consist of a brief presentation of Where in the World is Mineral Sandiego followed by a short session of game play.


Where in the World is Mineral Sandiego is an educational game that allows students to practice identifying locations using coordinates while indirectly teaching about mineral occurrences around the globe. In this game, students take on the role of a spy! Before the game begins, each spy will select a Spy Item and pick up a Detective Card that lists the minerals needed to make the Spy Item. During the game, spies will travel the world (finding locations based on latitude and longitude coordinates) to capture the minerals needed to complete their Spy Item. The first spy in a group to collect all minerals needed for their item is the winner, BUT the first group that obtains minerals needed for all their items becomes the SUPER SPY TEAM and gets extra credit. Mineral occurrences in the game are based off of the 2019 USGS Mineral Commodity Summary, which lists the mineral production of various countries. The game board includes the mineral production of the 3 highest producing countries. Post-game, students will fill out a group worksheet to wrap up what they've learned through game play and dive a bit deeper into mineral uses, cost of production and cost of manufacturing.


This game is recommended for community college students and/or future teachers that are non-science majors. This game is used to teach about minerals and coordinate systems. I have also used this game in my upper division Earth Science Communication course as an example of games in education.

Why It Works

I have received positive feedback from my students that this game has kept them engaged and helped them feel more comfortable using the geographic grid system. Some students are more knowledgeable of/familiar with using latitude and longitude which allows students to teach each other and learn while playing the game in small groups.

Game takeaways:
- Familiarity and confidence in using the geographic grid system
- Mineral Importance: Minerals make up almost EVERYTHING we use!
- Mineral Occurrence: All minerals are not found in one location! They need to be exported/traded. 
- Mineral Uses: Many answers possible here
- Cost of Production: Varies depending on the item chosen. 
- "True" Cost of Manufacturing: Varies depending on the item chosen.