Student Workshop

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.

 

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.

 

 

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

Bahrain students like the sound of exploration

A Slinky and two foam cups. Individually, these items don’t seem like they can play a key role in science. But when you connect them, these household items demonstrate a very important principle in oil exploration – sound waves.

Students from the Bahraini public and private schools attended the Energy4me workshop during the recent Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference. In all, just over 200 students and 41 teachers participated in the workshop at the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) facility in Awali.

The students participated in several hands-on activities that demonstrate various parts of oil and gas exploration and production. The Society of Petroleum Engineers conducts these workshops all over the globe to introduce students to the industry with age-appropriate games and activities. SPE’s goal is to excite students about studying engineering.

The idea that STEM subjects are the key to unlocking all these possibilities and that good engineers are problem solvers and creators.

Also during the workshop, teachers experienced what it was like to be students again by getting their hands dirty while trying to find oil. SPE donated a teacher’s kit which included all of the resources (lesson plans and informational material) that they would need in order to conduct hands-on activities in their own classrooms. The teachers also were treated to a refinery tour courtesy of BAPCO.

 

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!”

 

 

 

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.