Classroom presentations

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.

The FAQ on E&P: Chatting with Middle School Students about Oil and Gas

SPE Gulf Coast section member Vikrant Lakhanpal recently visited Olle Middle School in Houston, Texas.

Fueling young minds, that’s why Vikrant Lakhanpal recently visited Olle Middle School in Houston, Texas.

Lakhanpal, a production engineer at Proline Energy Resources, spoke with the students about the whole life cycle of energy production from oil and gas – geological exploration, drilling, production, transportation and refining.

“I got a chance to interact with the students and understand their perspective about the E&P industry,” he said. “It was interesting to understand what the young minds think about petroleum engineering as a career.”

A member of the Gulf Coast section, Lakhanpal based his presentation on the future energy outlook, increasing dependency on renewable energy and how the world will still depend on oil and gas 30 years from now. Lakhanpal said that even though a lot of research is happening in the renewable sector, it is not possible to become completely fossil fuel independent.

He also emphasized that oil production is a multi-disciplinary science, and the first principles of science are applied at each stage.

“I sometimes hear students ask why a certain subject is being taught to them,” Lakhanpal said. “They think it won’t be of any use in the future. That’s exactly why I wanted to give them the technical details of how things actually work. I wanted them to realize that petroleum engineering is not something out of the world; it is based on the principles of physics used to extract oil from ground.”

Lakhanpal created a trivia quiz game. He said he was concerned that the students had not been interested in the topic he presented. Had they paid attention? Would they be able to answer the questions? Happily, he received an over-whelming response.

“They asked questions about which courses to take, whether to go for an associate degree or a master’s degree,” Lakhanpal said. “I am glad I could make a difference and motivate them to take up STEM education. I am thankful to SPE for giving me this opportunity of making an impact in someone’s life. I will definitely make myself available again for such opportunities in future.”

 

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

 

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!

Energy4me in Kazakhstan!

When her 8-year-old son asked, “how do you make gasoline?” Aizhana, a reservoir engineer, decided it was time to get involved in energy education. Aizhana and her colleagues recently visited her son’s 3rd grade class in Astana, Kazakhstan to talk all about energy! Using some of the Energy4me presentation materials and their own demo activities, she explains, “we were trying to show them how oil is being produced. We got decorative beads, poured some coffee (oil) into the porous space. Then drilled a well with a straw and started pumping oil out of the ground.”

Here’s a small article she wrote for a local newsletter on her experience –

How would you answer these questions: “Have you ever found diamonds when drilled a well?” or “When you bring a lot of oil to the platform, how do you keep it stable?” Now, if I tell you that those are the questions asked by 8-9 years old kids, would you change or paraphrase your answer? You probably would. This is exactly what me and my colleague, Ilyas, faced when we went to my son’s class to teach a lesson on energy to 3rd graders.

The idea to go to school and teach the kids on energy came to me at the gas station. We went to fill up the tank and my son asked: “Why are you buying gasoline?  Aren’t you making it?” I started explaining what I do and how gasoline is being made, but later I thought: “What if I go to school and educate the whole class, not only my son?” I remembered, that Society of Petroleum Engineers has a program called “Energy4me.” I contacted them and came up to the slides for the talk. My colleagues got excited about this idea as well and we decided to “test” it on my son’s class and later develop a program under SPE umbrella.

So, on April 18 me, Ilyas, and one other colleague Irina went to school ready to give a presentation and demonstrate the experiment on oil production. We dressed up in coveralls, hard hat and safety glasses to create a field environment. Kids were asking all kinds of questions and stayed engaged all the time. When preparing for the lesson we were thinking about the experiment: what and how to show? One little detail that was bothering me was what we were going to use as oil. We had a lot of ideas; we wanted it to be more or less realistic in color but at the same time relatively safe. At the end of the day we picked coffee. What do you think happened when the kids came closer to look/perform the experiment? That was really funny, when they said surprisingly: “It smells like coffee!”  There were a number of interesting moments during the class. We had a very good time!

You know what was the most rewarding thing for me? That night my son came to me and said: “You are the smartest mom in the World!” I almost cried. 

Aizhana and her colleagues already have another presentation lined up, and plan to expand their outreach into Russian language and other Kazakh schools next year. Thanks for sharing Aizhana! If you would also like to share your classroom presentation experiences with Energy4me, contact us!

Teachers: Want more information about how you can request a classroom presentation? Visit our classroom resources page here!

Volunteers: Interesting in presenting to a classroom? Visit here for more information!

 

 

Students, Educators Get an Up-Close Look at Technology and More at OTC!

The 2013 Offshore Technology Conference hosted 11 Houston-area high school groups as part of the Energy Education Institute on 9 May! About 250 students and teachers escaped from the classroom for the day to explore offshore technology through activities facilitated by our friends at the NEED Project. Groups modeled the challenges of  “Getting the Oil out” at different depths through artificial lift. Using straws and sponges, students were able to explain why perforated well casings can produce more petroleum or natural gas in horizontal drilling than ones without holes. These activities and more are available in the NEED Project’s “Exploring Oil and Gas” curriculum guide. (http://need.org/needpdf/ExploringOilandGas.pdf)

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Industry tour guides took the students and teachers to the expansive OTC exhibit halls to discover the future of offshore technology. Many of the exhibitors shared presentations of their products by letting students climb in submersible vehicles, view 3D models of rigs, and interact with state-of-the-art simulations of the offshore drilling process. OTC recognizes the importance of engaging students in the opportunities of offshore energy careers, because they are the future of the industry!

Thanks to generous sponsorships of BP and ExxonMobil, both the student and teachers workshops were complimentary. If you missed out this year, check back for applications to the OTC 2014 Energy Education Institute!

Interested in attending a like workshop? Send us a note to energyed@spe.org

Join the conversation on Facebook— www.Facebook.com/Energy4me. You can also connect with us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Energy4me!

Nuclear Curriculum Updates!

Guest blog courtesy of DaNel Hogan, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow and the NEED Project 

One of my favorite things about the NEED Project is the fact that they use real classroom teachers to develop, update, and improve their energy education curricula. The NEED Teacher Advisory Board is regularly asked to weigh in on what is working and how it can be improved based on their experience using the activities in the classroom with their students. I just had the pleasure of helping with such an update of the Intermediate Grade Level Energy from Uranium and the Secondary Grade Level Exploring Nuclear curricula. The entire team at the NEED Project works hard to keep the data and information up-to-date in the curricula. With the recent tsunami in Japan, which caused a nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, it was definitely necessary to update the nuclear curricula to provide details about what happened during this event. Given that this is something students are certain to ask about, it is important that the current curricula reflects what we now know about this accident. Beyond the updates to the background information, you will also notice changes to some of the activities that reflect improvements based on classroom use and also on grade level appropriateness. Check out these updated pieces of curricula (and and thanks for continuing to work toward our goal of creating an energy literate citizenry!

Energy from Uranium(Intermediate)

Exploring Nuclear Energy (Secondary) 

 

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Join the conversation on Facebook— www.Facebook.com/Energy4me. You can also connect with us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Energy4me!

SPE Student Chapter Makes Difference With Energy Presentation

Energy education is fun. Energy education is enlightening. Energy education is worthwhile.

These are just a few of the many facets of a recent presentation put on by members of the SPE Middle East Technical University Northern Cyprus Student Chapter to 15 high school seniors. In holding such a workshop, SPE student members also received gratification from sharing information that the students might not have known… further inspiring them to hold more similar events in the future.

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Below is an account of the presentation by M. Mohsin Tariq Khan, President of the SPE Middle East Technical University Northern Cyprus Student Chapter.

“Recently, Gözde Baş and I made a presentation together with our department professors to hazirlik (English preparatory school students). The professors talked to the students about courses and the future of petroleum engineers while we informed the students about our society’s activities. I gave a presentation about energy and the opportunities given by our society to students while Gözde talked to the students regarding the existence of Energy4me, and its activities. Gözde then distributed Energy4me brochures, bookmarks, and went through the Oil and Natural Book – all donated to us by Energy4me! 

Later, SPE member, Alper Bayramoglu taught the students how to use our website for membership registration and we even registered new members who were now interested in oil and gas as a result of our presentation! To keep information available to reference for those interested, we then donated the Energy4me Oil and Natural Gas Book to our campus library! It will be kept in the library collection for general use- meaning anyone can borrow and read it.” 

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Interested in holding a similar type event? We can equip you with the materials you need. Send us an email to energyed@spe.org. Learn more about the SPE Middle East Technical University Northern Cyprus Student Chapter by visiting http://www.spe.ncc.metu.edu.tr/ 

Join the conversation on Facebook— www.Facebook.com/Energy4me. You can also connect with us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Energy4me!

San Antonio Teacher Excited for ATCE Teacher Workshop

Beckie Derby is a teacher at Northwest Crossing Elementary, a part of the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas – the site of the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE). One component of ATCE is an energy education Teacher Workshop and High School Student STEM Event. Derby wrote a guest blog describing how she heard about the teacher workshop, why she’s attending, and how she believes her students will benefit. Give it a read below!

Know students or teachers who would benefit from these energy education programs? Are you interested in attending? Click HERE to learn more and for instructions on how to sign up.

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A member of our Gifted/Talented Enrichment Staff came across the information for the Energy4me teacher workshop and shared it with our Central Office Supervisor, who in turn shared it with us.  As a 30 year teaching veteran and a presenter for my district and regional educational service center, I am always looking for new and motivating ideas to teach important subject matter.  

Our GT theme this year is Exploration and Space.  The Earth is a major focus in that study.  Knowledge of energy and natural resources are imperative to developing understanding of our planet, maintenance and future energy endeavors both here and out in the solar system.  I am attending the workshop in hopes of receiving new and innovative ideas and lessons to develop that key understanding and promote cognitive challenge at a higher level than typical lesson plans would provide.

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My students will benefit directly from the materials provided by the workshop but also by the knowledge and excitement I plan to bring away from the day spent learning from the experts.

In my opinion, organizations like Energy4me provide an amazing opportunity to learn from the people who work in the industries that deal directly with developing our energy plans and the future of energy on our planet and beyond.  What better experts to show us what is up and coming and how it affects our everyday lives than the people who live it every day.

My expectations are high and from reading about the workshop, I know I won’t be disappointed.

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You can read more about Derby, Northwest Crossing Elementary, and their Gifted and Talented program HERE.

Join the conversation on Facebook— www.Facebook.com/Energy4me. You can also connect with us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Energy4me