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.”
Because of skills gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects in the UK, the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ (SPE) Aberdeen Section has reported investing almost $250,000 (£200,000) over five years to support initiatives designed around these subjects.
SPE Aberdeen’s Schools and Careers Guidance Committee plays a significant role in encouraging young people to study STEM subjects, which are fundamental to the energy industry’s future workforce. Activities such as workshops at the Techfest Festival of Science, which take place in Aberdeen, are supported by profits from SPE Aberdeen events and offer thousands of children the opportunity to get a hands-on introduction to STEM subjects each year.
Another important enterprise that SPE has supported over the years is Inside Industry, the only tool of its kind focused on providing first-class, industry-driven career information and advice. The career guidance website, which is targeted specifically toward the energy industry, has been rolled out across 300 schools in Scotland.
Since 2011, SPE Aberdeen has invested $98,000 (almost £80,000) in scholarships to support students studying oil and gas related qualifications to relieve the financial stresses faced by students and allow them to focus on their studies.
“Inspiring the next generation has always been, and continues to be, at the heart of SPE Aberdeen,” said Ian Phillips, Chairman of SPE Aberdeen. “We are committed to encouraging and supporting the industry’s next generation of talent by providing opportunities that otherwise would not be available. The oil and gas industry has a long future ahead, and it is essential that we do all we can to equip the future workforce with skills they need to drive it forward.”
All of SPE Aberdeen’s initiatives are funded by profit generated from its annual program of events, such as the Offshore Achievement Awards, its monthly technical presentations and networking meetings, and topical conferences including DEVEX, the SPE ICoTA Well Intervention Conference and the SPE European Well Abandonment Seminar.
As well as key initiatives such as Techfest, Inside Industry and student scholarships, other events and workshops which benefit from these profits include CV workshops and industry exhibition tours for pupils and teachers, creating vital links between schools and industry.
In addition to the financial support given by SPE Aberdeen, the volunteers in each committee give their time and expertise to develop and deliver workshops, events and share their passion and enthusiasm for STEM and the industry.
“The events we run not only encourage knowledge sharing and professional development, but also play a direct link in supporting the talent of tomorrow,” Phillips said. “One such example is the Offshore Achievement Awards. As well as celebrating success and innovation across the industry, the awards also provide the wherewithal to attract the next generation of workers.
“It’s particularly important in this current market climate that we work even harder to encourage the next generation to pursue interests in the industry, and reinvesting back into key events and initiatives through the offshore awards is a fantastic way to do so.”
The Offshore Achievement Awards will take place at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre on Thursday, 23 March, 2017. For more information please visit: http://www.spe-oaa.org/
In the field, core samples consist of sediment or rock. But in an Energy4me workshop, core samples are made up of bright pink and purple sand.
About 30 Society of Petroleum Engineers staff participated in an Energy4me workshop in Dallas. During the workshop, participants conducted four experiments that focused on various parts of oil exploration and production. In the core sample exercise, employees filled small plastic cups with three layers of colored sand. Then, using a drinking straw, they worked to pull out a core sample.
It’s a simplified version of the real experience, but it serves as a great example of core sampling.
“Allowing us the opportunity to complete hands-on activities really helped everyone visualize the types of things that petroleum engineers work on, and the types of engineering work that we talk about with our members,” said Debbie Anderson, Bookstore & Libraries Manager. “I would recommend the workshop to anyone that wants to learn more about petroleum engineering in general.”
Conducted across the globe, Energy4Me educates middle school and high school students about the energy industry. The program is designed to engage students at a young age to study math and science, thereby ensuring a future workforce. The program also educates teachers on using hands-on activities to illustrate technical aspects of engineering.
In the Dallas workshop, the other experiments were “getting the oil out,” “perforated well casings” and “fracturing with gelatin.”
For the “getting the oil out” experiment, participants taped together drinking straws to create the illusion of a well drilled deep underground for oil. The trick is to properly connect the pipe sections – pieces of straw – to suck the oil, or in this case, soft drink and chocolate syrup, to the surface.
Some staffers were immediately successful while others learned that drilling can be challenging.
“My favorite activity was definitely the activity with the straws, though each were interesting in a different way,” said Leah Looten, Membership Recruitment and Engagement Senior Administrator. “We improvised a bit and messed up others, so I’m not sure they were 100 percent successful, though they were 100 percent fun.”
By participating in an Energy4me workshop, several SPE staffers expressed an interest in conducting their own workshops.
“I would also recommend it to anyone who may want to conduct their own event,” Anderson said. “I’m a Cubmaster for a Cub Scout pack, and I would love to conduct my own E4M workshop with our Scouts. Thank you for the opportunity!”
Brett Fountain, Senior Web Integrator and Developer, likened the workshop to “engineering meets arts and crafts.” He said that the experience is a very enjoyable way to learn some basic concepts that he hopes to teach to his son’s class next year.
“It was simultaneously so fun and so educational that it made me wish my son could have been in on it,” he said. “Now I want to facilitate this kind of hands-on learning for him and his friends. If you are inquisitive and curious and not afraid to get your hands wet, you will have fun learning about this industry.
“This was the best lunch-and-learn ever — I basically forgot to eat.”
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.
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.
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.
Taking a break from hosting workshops, we took some time to participate in some great energy education experiences this summer. In July, the entire Energy4me team (including our newest member from our Dubai office!) went down to Georgia for some extensive energy training with The NEED Project at their National Energy Conference for Educators.
A full week was spent exploring all sources of energy, energy conservation and energy efficiency. We had our minds and hands busy with energy projects, competitions, performances, and a visit to a local importing LNG facility on Elba Island. The best part was meeting teachers from all over the US and taking home new knowledge and activities to expand on the Energy4me curriculum and resources. Be sure to mark your calendar and apply for next year’s conference! Visit www.need.org for more information.
Energy4me then traveled to Massillon, Ohio, for a workshop put on by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP). This 2 day workshop included industry speakers, hands on activities, and a field trip to several different types of drilling sites. At each site we were able to learn so much about their operations. Speakers not only talked about but showed us the equipment and technology needed for horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, injection wells, and natural gas storage. To learn more about the teacher resources they have available, visit www.oogeep.org.
Thanks to OOGEEP and The NEED Project for the great #energyeducation this summer! We’re ready for the new school year, starting with our first professional development training in San Antonio this August. Interested in attending one? Visit our Events page for details on where we’ll be!
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
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, the 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.
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!