Engineering Careers

Sometimes, the right equipment is a spoon

It pays to have the right tool.

That’s the lesson high school students in San Antonio, Texas, learned during an Energy4me workshop. Nearly 100 students competed in the hands-on activity, which challenges them to produce and refine the most amount of oil in the quickest time with the least (or no) amount of spillage or other complications.

Just like real life!

During the activity, students can purchase or exchange various tools that represent advancing technologies in oil and gas exploration. In one game, they learn about exploration, project management and negotiating.

“I loved the peak oil game because it taught me the importance of having the right equipment and right team when doing a task,” one student said.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers conducts Energy4me workshops and presentations all over the world. Through extensive use of hands-on activities, this innovating program, working in conjunction with the NEED project, encourages students to study engineering. In particular, the peak oil game teaches students the value of exploring for and producing hydrocarbons.

Studies prove that hands-on activities create connections between the classroom and real-world situations. This style of teaching also nurtures critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are traits that many employers value.

“The Energy4me workshops not only are a lot of fun for the students, but they also are incredibly educational,” said Mary Spruill, NEED executive director. “Because we use hands-on activities, students do not passively listen to a lecture; they must think through a problem or situation. They learn that they can interpret data, which is a fundamental skill for engineers.”

After completing the activity portion of the workshop, students were then treated to a tour of the exhibition floor where they see all of the technology they just learned. The tour is a true highlight of the workshop and the only way that students can access an SPE exhibit floor.

At the same time, the students were learning about oil and gas, 20 science teachers took part in a separate workshop. Energy4me believes that if we educate a teacher, we educate generations of aspiring engineers.

A 5th grade science teacher said, “I now see the importance of combining hands-on experiments with theory to help increase students understanding.”

Teachers receive a free digital version of the Energy4me teacher kit, which includes many resources that they can take back to the classroom. Teachers also get an exhibition tour.

 

 

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.

Offshore Technology Conference- Bringing Teachers and Students Together with the Industry

For the ninth consecutive year, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) invited Houston-area K-12 teachers and high school students to attend the Energy Institute. This one day workshop highlights the offshore energy industry, the science and technology it uses, and the careers that make it all possible. Nearly 100 teachers and 125 students saw firsthand the latest technology and equipment companies use to access and recover some of our world’s most valuable resources, oil and natural gas.

Chris Del Campo

Teachers began their day with an engaging keynote speaker, Chris Del Campo, a Mechanical Metier Manager with Schlumberger Oilfield Services. Taking a walk through time, he led the teachers from the use of whale oil to the first well drilled for oil in Titusville, Penn., all the way up to the cutting edge technologies used today.

His talk was a perfect introduction to what they saw displayed on the OTC exhibit floor. To finish out the workshop, the teachers were led through experiments by instructors from the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED). Each breakout focused on hands-experiments they can do in their classrooms – breaking down the scientific principals used by industry professionals every day.

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Teachers work through the perforated well casing activity in their breakout session.

The students’ workshop kicked off with a unique challenge called Peak Oil, a NEED activity that aims to explore the production process and its advancing technologies to better extract petroleum for products and energy use. The student groups went through simulated challenges such as oil spills, refinery contamination and reduced production over time.

In the end, the students discussed the challenges they had, the economic strategies they used and their evolving business models.

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Students tour the OTC exhibition floor, learning about the technology on display.

The students then had their turn on the exhibition floor. Competing in a scavenger hunt, the students gathered information from the company booths and industry professionals they spoke with. They were able to see the wide variety of careers available and learn about the education and training necessary to acquire those positions.

At the end of the day, the volunteers that help make this day possible are just as thrilled to be involved as the teachers and students. Being a part of inspiring the industries next generation of scientist and engineers is what makes the Energy Institute so successful each year.

Saudi Arabia ATS&E and Think Science Fair 2015

Our energy4me team in the SPE Dubai office has been quite busy in energy education the past few months, including our first ever event in Saudi Arabia! Check out details and pictures below.

Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition

Held annually in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, ATS&E is considered a prime event that highlights the mission of the Society of Petroleum Engineers – Saudi Arabia Section in providing a means for trading technical information concerning the oil and gas industry. Energy4me had the privilege of being invited to host an energy4me teacher and student workshop. This was the first ever event for energy4me in Saudi Arabia, thanks to an invitation from Mr. Yaser Khojah (Saudi Aramco), Young Professional & Student Outreach, Vice-Chairperson.

Mr. Khojah was invited to be a keynote speaker at the energy4me teachers workshop earlier in 2015 at MEOS in Bahrain. Being so impressed with the workshop, he invited the energy4me team to Saudi Arabia and requested that we replicate the hands on activities that so inspired him. The activities that were conducted were done so to highlight some concepts in oil exploration. From the experiments that show how oil is detected by geologists and petroleum engineers (Sound Waves, Core Sampling, Porosity, Density, Oil Seeps) to the mechanisms of extraction (Perforated Well Casing, Getting the Oil Out), students and teachers alike learnt that there are many exciting prospects in the oil & gas industry.

Another highlight was leading local female representatives from the industry were invited to present as keynote and young professional speakers, thus showing the female students that there are many opportunities for a professional career in the country. One particular student commented, “I never knew that there were female engineers that could work in the country successfully.” That’s successful energy education!

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Students at ATS&E

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Energy4me presentation at ATS&E

 

Think Science Fair 2015

A three-day science exhibition showcasing ground-breaking technological innovations from some of the UAE’s brightest young scientific minds was held at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The Emirates Foundation’s “Think Science Fair”, held under the Patronage of H.H Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, is one of the biggest events of its kind in the region attracting thousands of school and university students, parents, academics, investors and private sector representatives.

The Fair saw exhibitors showcase the scientific inventions designed and built by young UAE scientists as part of the Emirates Foundation’s “Think Science” Competition alongside a range of interactive, hands-on activities in various fields of engineering, energy, aviation and other technological industries. More than 8500 students and teachers attended form over 75 schools from the private and public sectors.

SPE exhibited the energy4me Oil & Natural Gas book, different careers within the energy sectors, and the energy4me teacher kit. In addition to this we conducted hands-on activities like Core Sampling, Getting the Oil Out, Sound Waves and how fruit can conduct electricity. The program was well received and many Heads of Science Departments and science teachers were invited to attend the next energy4me workshop in Abu Dhabi.

Students visiting the Think Science Fair try Getting the Oil Out!

Students visiting the Think Science Fair try Getting the Oil Out!

Students showing off energy4me resources at the Think Science Fair

Students showing off energy4me resources at the Think Science Fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re taking a short break after these events, the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, and our first ever New York workshop in Fredonia! We’ll be up and running again for the fall with even more events coming your way.

Be sure to sign up to receive invitations and visit our event calendar for more information.

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!

 

 

2014 APOGCE Education & Teachers’ Day Strikes a Chord

We’ve been traveling worldwide this fall bringing energy education to teachers and students. In October, we visited Calgary, Moscow, Adelaide and Amsterdam! Hear from one of our amazing SPE member volunteers as she shares about the high school student event in South Australia:

Helena Wu (Santos), SPE South Australian Section Vice Chair

On Wednesday 15th October, students and teachers from 7 local schools participated in an Education & Teachers’ Day held in Adelaide, Australia.  The event aimed to introduce high school students in grades 9 and 10 and their teachers, to Petroleum Engineering and the broader oil and gas industry.

The one day event was organised in conjunction with the 2014 Asia Pacific Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition (APOGCE), held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 14-16 October 2014.

“A teacher has since informed us that after attending this event, at least two of his students had switched to include STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in their Year 11 enrolment next year,” said James Griffiths, 2014 APOGCE Education & Teachers’ Day Chairperson, and South Australian Section Community Liaison Chair.  “We were extremely pleased to hear the event has made a difference,” he added.

“The diversity in student participation was also encouraging, with 35% females and 65% males, as well as 3 public schools and 4 private schools participating,” James said.

The day kicked off with a welcome from 2016 SPE President Dr Nathan Meehan, who broke the ice by demonstrating his juggling abilities while sharing insights on the industry.

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Students receiving a frac lesson directly from Nathan the ‘Fracmeister’!

After a quick ‘Mythbusters’ quiz designed to challenge common misconceptions, local SPE members Carrie Trembath (Beach Energy) and Steven Travers (Baker Hughes) explained how oil and gas is discovered, extracted and turned into everyday end products.

A number of hands on activities followed to reinforce concepts learnt and to spark interest – these included a close look at core samples (Nick Lemon, Santos), mixing frac fluids (Mary McGowen and team, Halliburton) and an intense Energy4Me game (Jenni and Lou, SPE).

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Give that bottle a good shake!

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Students may choose to invest in ‘better technology’ to ‘extract’ petroleum in the Peak Oil game.

Over lunch, young professionals David Warren and Helena Wu (Santos) shared stories on why they studied engineering and their career journeys to date.

In the afternoon, students toured the 700+ sqm exhibition area in small groups guided by local SPE members.  This provided the opportunity for students to see first-hand, some of the high-end technologies developed by engineers and used within our industry.

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Students getting talks on ‘Downhole Tools 101’.

Inspired (and loaded with freebies), the day concluded with a presentation on school subject choices recommended for engineering and a quick Q&A and Feedback session.

The Teachers’ Day programme was split off in the afternoon, to enable teachers to receive comprehensive, objective information about the scientific concepts of energy and its importance in society.

Special sessions were organised resulting in the teachers spending time with 2016 SPE President Dr Nathan Meehan and SPE Energy4Me instructors, Jenni and Lou, who flew in from Texas and Dubai for this event.  A higher level exhibition tour was also conducted.

The SPE South Australian Section would like to acknowledge and thank James Griffiths (Santos) and Nicole Ditty (University of Adelaide) for their hard work and dedication over the past 18 months to make the event an absolute success.

Further information on 2014 APOGCE Education & Teachers’ Day is available at: http://www.spe.org/events/apogce/2014/pages/schedule/education_day.php

 

Educating the Future at OTC 2014!

The 2014 Offshore Technology Conference hosted the largest Energy Education Institute ever this year, attending over 150 teachers and 200 students!  With help from the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) , we were able to get everyone involved to learn more about the oil and gas industry, the future of energy, and the careers available.

Students started their day with activities that relate to energy, oil and gas exploration, and production.  They performed experiments about density, core sampling, and horizontal well drilling, to name a few.  Next industry professionals took them on the exhibition floor on an energy scavenger hunt.  Here they saw the latest technology being used in the industry; spoke to industry professionals, and learned about different careers that are critical to our nation’s energy production.

Teachers came to OTC eager to learn about the industry and what they can do to prepare their students for jobs in the future.

Sponsored by ExxonMobil, exxonmobiltm_135x75the teachers began their day listening to an exciting keynote presentation given by Dr. Helge Hove Haldorsen.  Helge talked about the critical role the four “E’s” will play in the global energy demand and supply; Energy, Economics, Environment, and the pillar of all the energy “E’s”, Education.   They too were able to tour the exhibition floor and learned how to incorporate hands on energy lessons into their classrooms.

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Check out the video from this year’s exciting workshop here, and if you missed out on attending, look for registration to open for 2015 in January.  Did you attend this year?  Let us know what your favorite part of the workshop was by leaving a comment or visit us on Facebook or  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!