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!