Classroom presentations

Fracturing with gelatin

Making gelatin is fun, and it certainly is delicious. But fracturing gelatin from the inside is a cracking good time.

Hydraulic fracturing was one of the experiments conducted by the SPE Calgary Section during a recent school visit. About 60 students participated in a range of Energy4me activities where they learned concepts such as porosity and perforated well casings in addition to hydraulic fracturing.

Dispelling many of the myths about this form of hydrocarbon production, SPE members explained to students about the technical aspects that are involved in the process, and why it is one of the most regulated and safest forms of hydrocarbon production. The Society of Petroleum Engineers provides good information on hydraulic fracturing on the Energy4me website.

Through Energy4me’s hands-on activities, the students also saw first-hand the results of core sampling on different sub-surface terrains. The SPE members offered instruction on why it is important to use science when investigating what is beneath the surface during hydrocarbon exploration.

From porosity to perforated well casing, students left with a better understanding of the various steps that go into exploration and production.

Globally, Energy4me excites students about the oil and gas industry. Through its award-winning program, Energy4me teaches students that engineers are investigators and problem solvers, often leading to new technologies and innovations for the world’s energy needs.

 

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.”

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

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