Classroom materials

STEM Day at Elmore Elementary in Houston, Texas

SPE member Randi Steele represented SPE’s Energy4me program and the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Elmore Elementary’s second annual STEM Day on Jan. 26. The program was organized by Crystal Williams, fourth grade STEM, computer science and robotics educator.

Williams instituted STEM Day as a way to motivate the students to think big about their futures and get them to focus on going to college. The day consisted of science presentations, robotics labs, a math competition and six science workshops.

Steele presented a basic discussion of fossil fuels and drilling for oil using materials from the Houston Museum of Natural Science where she is a master docent in the Weiss Energy Hall. Steele presented twice to large groups of about 30 fifth graders. They were very attentive and asked great questions.

“They loved learning about the rocks – especially the coal, halite, and sulfur samples,” Steele said. “Another highlight was showing the perforating gun and discussing the chemical explosive involved. This was a very worthwhile experience, and I look forward to doing it again!”

 

 

 

SPE QLD Energy4Me Brisbane Teachers Workshop

A big thanks to the SPE Queensland Section for initiating & sponsoring the SPE Energy4Me Brisbane Teachers Workshop. Teachers from various schools in the greater Brisbane area participated in Energy4Me program which utilized hands on activities to illustrate some basic technical concepts about oil & gas exploration & production.

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Teachers found out in a fun way that getting the oil out is not as easy as it looks!

 

Finding the oil requires rigorous scientific analysis.

Finding the oil required rigorous scientific analysis.

Teachers were trained on how to use the Energy4Me resources in their classrooms and how these resources would encourage students to pursue STEM subjects. Energy4Me has ensured that all materials used in the experiments are easily accessible from local grocery stores and school science labs, which allows teachers from different regions to have access to the materials required to conduct such experiments. This is how Energy4me ensures that its lesson plans can be utilized globally.

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Looking for that natural oil seep gives you an understanding of how oil was first discovered

The SPE Queensland Section members also provided some exciting presentations on the oil & gas industry in Australia and globally. Another huge contributor to the success of this workshop was the amazing effort of our 4 Australian Energy4Me facilitators who organized and hosted the workshop and the generosity of the All Hallows School for the providing the venue.

Natalie Chadud, Vice Chairperson QLD Board, SPE, giving the welcome address

Natalie Chadud, Vice Chairperson QLD Board, SPE, giving the welcome address

 

Marching Right into Spring

Typically spring is not quite as busy as our fall calendar, but this month really stepped up! If you attended any of the events we hosted or were presenting at, we hope it was engaging and full of energy education resources for you.

Early in the month, as part of the Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference, we hosted a Teachers Workshop and Students Workshop in Bahrain. Teachers and students were introduced to the oil and gas industry with Energy4me activities, talks on careers, and visited exhibitions of technology and the sophisticated software engineers use to solve energy challenges.

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Male students exploring Energy4me activities

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Female students tour the MEOS exhibitions

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the same week, the Energy4me team were representing the program on behalf of the Society of Petroleum Engineers at two major events: the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair, and the US National Science Teachers Association national conference. The Big Bang Fair was an opportunity to visit with school students about careers in engineering and energy, while building and testing a well with straw “drill pipes” as part of the Getting the Oil Out activity. It was estimated we performed the experiment over 300 times over the course of 4 days!

At NSTA in Chicago, we showcased the Oil and Natural Gas book, energy lessons, our website, and other resources available to teachers. We look forward to networking with our new contacts and hope to see you at future workshops.

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Big Bang Fair UK invites over 75,000 students to the NEC Birmingham for all sorts of STEM experiences

 

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Teachers loved these buttons at the NSTA conference 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week we’ve partnered with Alaska Resource Education in Anchorage to educate local teachers about Alaska’s energy and production. We’re excited to present oil and gas activities during this 3-day program. Stay tuned for pictures and updates on our Facebook and Twitter.

As always, keep up to date with upcoming programs on our Events Calendar. We hope to see you at one soon!

 

 

Summer Science Programs

This summer take a minute to check out some energy science professional development or student programs in your area! Museums, science centers and professional organizations are all offering courses or experience opportunities throughout the summer months. The bonus for teachers is many of them will allow you to credit the hours back to your school or district requirements. Energy4me donates Oil and Natural Gas books and other materials for teachers to take home from many of these types of programs.

Energy4me staff is taking some time to attend some on our own this summer, we’ll be sure to share in future posts. We’ve put together a list of a few that we’re aware of, feel free to share others in the comments!

The Science of Racing Workshop
The NEED Project sponsored by Shell
Hands-on materials and activities to take back to the classroom will highlight the fuels of auto racing, polymers in auto racing, and the science of motors and generators. The training will begin with a workshop and continue with interactive exhibits and an opportunity to view qualifying races at Reliant Park that afternoon.
June 27, Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, TX, USA

Summer Institute for Elementary Teachers (SIET)
Canada Science and Technology Museum

The Summer Institute for Elementary Teachers is a three day interactive professional learning workshop for primary and junior teachers. The program shares innovative teaching strategies for integrating science, technology, engineering, and math into classroom lessons.
July 22-24, Ottawa, ON, Canada

OOGEEP Science Teacher Workshop
Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program
The goal of the workshop is to help foster energy education by connecting science education to the energy industry. The six learning stations include hands-on experiments, background information, industry guest speakers, graphic organizer ideas and career connections.
June 18-19, Marietta, OH, and July July 30-31, Massillon, OH, USA

Exploring History Summer Camp
George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
For students! Activities will include science experiments, field trips and art class. Children will be learning all about energy conservation, renewable and nonrenewable resources, where energy comes from, and an in-depth look at petroleum and offshore drilling. Ages 7-11.
July 7-August 8, College Station, TX, USA


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We Love Science Teachers!

 

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Energy4me is excited to be teaming up with the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) at this year’s National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Annual Conference April 3rd-5th.   We will be there distributing our Where is Petroleum poster, as well as signing teachers up to receive a free copy of our book, Oil and Natural Gas.  If you are heading to Boston, MA for the conference, be sure to stop by and see us!  Also, don’t miss the workshop being held by NEED, Fun with Energy Sources: Exciting Student-led Energy Source Activities, as well as over 40 other sessions with energy as the topic.

Check out the list of sessions here!

Are you going to be at NSTA?  Let us know what sessions you’re looking forward to in the comments or visit us on Facebook. You can also connect with us on Twitter!

Engineers Week February 16-22, 2014

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Join us in celebrating Engineers Week! This year’s theme is Discover Engineering – Let’s Make a Difference. There is a wealth of resources for teachers, students, and volunteers to celebrate the event, and we have picked some of our favorites!

For Teachers: The Discover E website is full of activities and videos to use in your classroom. Design, aerospace, computer science, environmental and energy engineering are all types of projects included in the list. Here is engineering principles with Slinky Science, electrical circuits with the Power of Graphene, and chemical reactions with Catalysis: Change for the Better. The full list is HERE!

For Students: Check out the Career Outlook on engineering; the average salary for engineers in 2011 was $99,738, and the field of engineering is expected to grow by 10 percent in the next ten years! Engineering Careers explores the many industries looking for new graduates. Remember, Energy4me has a full list of petroleum engineering schools and programs HERE!

Girl Day: Formerly known as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, Girl Day celebrates the importance of girls in engineering. Great role models and mentors are shaping future engineers during events on February 20. Find an Idea Starter to get involved.

Engineering Challenges: Always a quick activity to encourage teamwork and creativity, while fostering the love of science in kids! One of the 2013-2014 Albert Einstein Fellows, James Town, posted some classroom challenges that are cheap, easy, and great for Engineers Week. Find his full post HERE, but we’re sharing what he says about his best design ideas:

Best Helicopter Challenge:

Materials: Paper, Scissors, Paper clips, Stopwatch (optional)

Students cut out their Bunny Copter and go through the design process to improve it.  I usually host the Eweek events at lunch so there is a natural design cut off.  Then drop the copters head-to-head (or keep a running total of best times) to determine the winner.  I make copies of the Bunny Copter Challenge from PBS Kids.

Best Boat Challenge:

Materials: 1’x1’ squares of aluminum; Something small, but kind of heavy that you can get a lot of (like dice or pennies); Buckets of water

Students craft a boat out of the aluminum foil (and only the aluminum foil) and try to keep the maximum amount of pennies afloat with their boat.  Each trial they redesign and make it better.  (Idea from Jefferson Labs)

Best Airplane Challenge:

Materials: Paper

Students make paper airplanes and try to make one that goes the furthest.

Best Jet Car Challenge:

Materials: Toy cars (e.g. Matchbox cars), Balloons, Straws, Tape, Paper clips

Admittedly, this one has the highest initial cost, but it also is the coolest.  Students need to make the car go as far as possible passed the starting line.  I always emphasize they cannot interact with it in any way once it passes the starting line.  For extra engagement, the winner can keep their car.  I originally got the idea from the e-week website run by American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

 

We’d want to hear your plans for Engineers Week! Share with us in the comments or visit us on Facebook www.Facebook.com/Energy4meYou can also connect with us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Energy4me!

 

Cheers to the New Year!

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from the Energy4me team!

As another year comes to a close, it’s time to think about what we can improve upon in 2014.  Most people make resolutions about eating healthier or saving money, but why not make a resolution to stay educated in energy!  Stay up to date with us on where our energy comes from, new developments in energy technology, your energy use, and how to be smart about saving energy. So in the spirit of the New Year, consider the following resolutions:

  • Change out those old light bulbs to new LED bulbs.  Yes they are more money upfront, but LED’s last 50 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and they can reduce your yearly lighting costs by 75%.  Who wouldn’t love only having to change light bulbs once every 50 years?
  • Turn off electronics when they aren’t in use, and better yet, unplug them.  Many electronic devices like TVs, cell phone chargers, and computers use power even when they are turned off.  According to the Energy Star statistics, the average US household spends $100 dollars a year to power devices that are turned off.  On a national basis, standby power accounts for more than 100 billion kilowatt hours of annual U.S. electricity consumption and more than $10 billion in annual energy costs.
  • Keep the tires on your vehicles properly inflated.  You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the optimum pressure.  Not only that, properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
  • Teachers – stay connected with 2014 workshop training opportunities and classroom resources.
  • Subscribe to the Energy4me newsletter to receive information year-round and share energy education with your family, friends, students, colleagues, and community! Sign Up Here>>

What are your plans for the new year? Share with us in the comments!

You can connect with us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Energy4me

Join the conversation on Facebook— www.Facebook.com/Energy4me.

‘Tis the Season to Save Some Energy!

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The holidays seem to be in full swing with decorative light displays all around us.  If you are still hanging old incandescent lights on your house or tree, it might be time to trade them in for more efficient LED lights.  Even better, turn this seasons decorations into a teachable moment!  Did you know that the old large bulbs (C7 and C9) use 175 Watts of electricity per string compared to the new large bulb LEDs which use only 2 Watts per string?  The average monthly cost to power 10 strings of the old lights for 6 hours a day is $56.70 compared to $1.36 for 10 stings of LED’s!  Not to mention LEDs are:

  • Safer: LEDs stay much cooler than incandescent lights, reducing the risk of burnt fingers, or worse combustion. Incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as wasted heat.
  • Sturdier: LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, which are much more resistant to breaking.
  • Longer lasting: The same LED string you buy this year could still be on your tree 40 years from now!
  • Easier to install:  Up to 25 strings can be connected end-to-end without overloading a standard wall socket.

Check out this great comparison of different holiday displays, and how much energy and money LED’s could save your family.

There are lots of great resources out there about energy efficiency you can use in your classroom.  Check out the NEED projects unit called Energy Conservation Contract.  This unit is great because not only do your students learn about saving energy, but they also take their knowledge home to help their families conserve as well.  Also the Franklin Institute, in partnership with Penn State MRSEC (Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers), put together this question and answer fact sheet about light bulb efficiency.  What are you going to do to conserve energy this year?   

You can connect with us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Energy4me

Join the conversation on Facebook— www.Facebook.com/Energy4me.

A Map is Worth a Thousand Words…

 

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Example map of US oil and gas exploration

The saying goes; a picture is worth a thousand words.  We think when it comes to statistics and kids that saying is absolutely true!  The National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) has compiled a variety of US maps with all sorts of energy statistics on them.  Want to know where the US coal basins are located?  There’s a map for that.  Want to know what state consumes the most energy?  There’s a map for that too.

Want your students do learn comparison skills?  Have them compare the states with the largest population to the states that consume the most electricity. Have each student compare their home state with another state.  NEED even gives you a few activity ideas complete with tables and critical thinking questions.  The activities that correlate with these maps are endless!

Join the conversation and let us know how you plan to use these maps in your classroom!

You can connect with us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Energy4me

Join the conversation on Facebook— www.Facebook.com/Energy4me.

Hydraulic Fracturing, the Facts

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Did you know that hydraulic fracturing has been around since the 1940’s?  Lately we have been receiving a lot of questions about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” so we thought it would be a great time to pass along some reliable resources and fast facts you can use in your classroom. 

Presented by the Society of Petroleum Engineers is a brand new resource called Hydraulic Fracturing.  Here you can find the facts behind the process that is helping to unlock oil and natural gas that is trapped within small spaces in the rocks below our feet (way below our feet, between 3,000 and 6,000 feet down!).  You can also check out the media center for recent articles and videos about hydraulic fracturing.

Other great resources we have come across include the U.S Department of Energy’s  free graphic poster that you can request hard copies of to display in your classroom and the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) unit called Exploring Oil and Gas.  This unit is free to download and full of wonderful lessons; all correlated to the National Science Education Standards.

So get informed and get ready to explore how the industry 

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has innovated one of the ways they will uncover our future energy source. 

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