Classroom materials

Have you ever seen the beginning of oil?

About 360 students in Kuwait did recently, thanks to the Energy4me workshop they attended during the Kuwait Oil & Gas Show.

Walking into the Ahmad Al Jaber Exhibition Center, these students along with 60 teachers were thrilled to see one of the world’s largest curved screens, which gives visitors a glimpse of the industry in Kuwait. The building was designed to look and have the shape of the shell of an extinct marine animal called the ammonite, which lived some 120 million years ago and is thought by scientists to have contributed to the formation of today’s oil reserves.

The Energy4me team took participants on a journey of exploration and production. In the fun and educational workshops, teachers and students learned how humans first discovered oil as they worked through the “natural oil seep” experiment. Next, they investigated seismic technology to see what is beneath the surface; to do that test, the groups used the “sound wave” experiment with Slinkys and Styrofoam cups.

These hands-on activities do so much to help us understand the basic scientific concepts that are dealt with within the industry, but more than that, they help give us an understanding on how to engage with students in the classroom in a fun and easy way,” said one science teacher from the Canadian Bilingual School.

Teachers and students then learned about the value of a core sample in understanding the concepts of pressure, porosity, permeability and density in helping scientists make a decision about where to produce energy. The resources offered by the Energy4me program are designed to help make these concepts more accessible to the public to increase awareness and understanding.

The journey ended with the “perforated well casing” activity, which teaches the concept that perforations help us extract more oil and natural gas, and the “getting the oil out” activity, which always sparks a fierce but friendly team competition to see who can get the oil out of the ground. Only, in this experiment, chocolate syrup and cola take the place of oil (one being more viscous than the other).

The workshops show teachers the value of using hands-on activities to encourage students to pursue STEM-related subjects in school and at university. The aim for the students was to highlight some of the exciting aspects of being an engineer and to help give them a better idea of what to expect should they choose to pursue an engineering career.

All of our experiments are freely downloadable via the Energy4me website and the materials that are needed were designed to be easily accessible in any part of the world so that anyone would be able to use our resources to help educate the public.

SPE Colombia Teaches Energy4me to 600 Students

 In July, 32 SPE members volunteered to teach the Energy4me program to nearly 600 6th and 7th grade students at the San Jose de Orito School and Jorge Eliecer Gaitan School in Orito, Colombia. The three-day event was a big hit among students and teachers. “With students, it is always important to do a hands-on activity since they are very curious,” said Jenny Bravo, teacher at San Jose de Orito School. “The activity is a motivation for their classes; many of them want to be engineers. When the students work with the volunteers, they have an incentive to continue their studies in university. I notice you were able to motivate them.”

Space exploration science principles apply in the oil industry, too

Aberdeen, we have an astronaut!

That wasn’t exactly the introduction as retired NASA astronaut Rick Hieb visited the Scottish city recently to educate local teachers on science and space exploration. But, it was accurate!

Hieb was joined by NASA space scientist Sue Lederer and Hyang Lloyd, president and co-founder of the Scottish Space School Foundation USA. The trio visited Aberdeen as part of the NASA in Aberdeen 2017 project, participating in a range of scientific events catering to students from primary and secondary schools plus families visiting Aberdeen Science Centre.

This initiative was jointly organized by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the Energy Institute and Society of Underwater Technology.

The NASA in Aberdeen project seeks to inspire the next generation of engineers, said SPE member and Energy4me advocate Colin Black, who also serves as chairman of the NASA in Aberdeen project.

“We seek to show the link between the technology and processes used in space travel and how these translate to the energy industry,” Black said. “A large part of this is providing continued professional development for teachers to continue this learning, encouraging pupils to consider a career in the energy sector as a result.”

The program offered educational lessons to teachers on topics such as staying safe in space and returning to Earth. The teachers said that not only were the resources to be useful and enjoyable but that they also plan to use what they’ve learned in their classrooms, teach their students even more about space travel and its relation to other industries.

From left to right, Colin Black, Dr Sue Lederer, Hyang Lloyd and Rick Hieb.

“NASA in Aberdeen is an excellent collaboration bringing oil and gas industry bodies together with STEM education organizations to inspire the next generation through demonstrating the exciting possibilities solving the challenges we face both in space as well as here on Earth,” said Stuart Farmer, chair of the educational committee for the NASA in Aberdeen 2017 project. “In addition to the recent visit of NASA staff, the subsequent series of professional development workshops for secondary science teachers ensures the project provides ongoing support for teachers.”

Teachers build and launch compressed air rockets

Orange, silver and gold – a quick lesson in density

Which is more dense – an orange inside its skin or an orange that has been peeled?

Parents can easily conduct an experiment on density at home. It’s fun for mom and dad to perform hands-on science experiments together, so we created a low-cost experiment that uses household items.

First, get a clear vessel – such as a big glass bowl – and fill it with water. Then grab various items such as fruit (oranges and apples), corks, coins, rocks and a half-filled water bottle.

With younger children, ask them if the cork or the rock would sink. For older children, present a real-life situation such as the sinking of the Titanic. Ask real-life density examples such as how does a life jacket provide flotation and how does a massive steel ship float.

For those students who excel at the toughest density experiments, it’s time to present the Archimedes’ principle for density. An ancient Greek mathematician and engineer, Archimedes devised a method to test if a crown was forged of solid gold, or if silver diluted the gold crown of King Hiero II. When submerged in water, the crown would displace an amount of water equal to its own volume. This density would be lower than that of gold if cheaper and less dense metals had been added. Archimedes’ experiment proved that silver had been added to the king’s crown.

I would hate to be that goldsmith who cheated the king!

To try this at home, parents should explain the principle of density and perform the experiment. To test your child’s knowledge, ask him or her to explain the concept and perform the experiment on their own then justify the result.”

Ah, and to the question posed at the beginning of this story – did you get the right answer? The peeled orange sinks like a rock. The rind of an orange is full of tiny air pockets which help give it a lower density than water, making it float to the surface.

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!