Visit a Petroleum Museum… They Tell Fascinating Stories!

Want to enhance your knowledge of the petroleum industry? How about a petroleum museum! At the museums, watch history come to life with interactive displays, informative guides, and live demonstrations. Some even have specific, focused, elementary, middle and high school educational tours. From Calgary to France to West Virginia, petroleum museums tell fascinating stories of oil discovery, production, to showcasing some of the modern uses of oil you might not know about.

For instance, at the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Energy exhibit, the Exploration gallery features the latest techniques used to search for hydrocarbons, from magnetometers and gravimeters to seismic vibrator trucks. In the Geology in the Field interactive, gaze across a barren, mountainous landscape, and watch as holographic illusions of two petroleum geologists materialize and explain what they are doing in the middle of nowhere. A massive Vibroseis truck interrupts them, sending its booming vibrations deep into the rock below.

At the Indonesian Oil and Gas Museum, the exhibits display how important the role of oil and gas is as the source of energy, for fuel, lubricants and petrochemical products. There’s even an oil tree that symbolically displays at its branches various products resulting from the refinery processes of oil and gas.

Check out our full petroleum museum listings HERE. Have plans to attend one on the list? Share your experience with us by Joining the conversation on Facebook— You can also connect with us on Twitter at!  

Hands-On or Hands-Off… Which is More Beneficial to Students?

There are different ways to teach. Each student learns differently and there is no right or wrong way. The goal is that the subject matter resonates and that the student understands. That being said, we took a short survey here at Energy4me posing the question “Hands-On or Hands-Off” regarding the best way information resonates and/or assists one in understanding the material.

The results are in… 100% of the participants selected “Hands-On.” Though it is not a total representation of students across the world, it’s a general consensus amongst people in our network that hands-on works the best. That speaks to us. That speaks to teachers.

As we venture deeper into the 21st century, where the availability of information is so readily available thanks to the technical age we live in with Google and other search engines/aids on our smartphones and tablets, it’s important now more than ever to reinforce visuals and things we can hold in our hands as valuable, teachable tools. Maybe instead of just showing that 3D map of where the state capitals and countries are, how about we bring out a globe and let the students twirl it and place stickers and pins on those places; or even a visit to their state capital where they can sit-in on a court proceeding. Instead of only watching a video about animal tendencies and features, that we take them to a zoo where they can see and hold animals and vegetation in their hands?

Instead of only looking at pictures of technology exhibits and new innovations, how about we take them to places like the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) where they can touch, stand on and get expert insight from the person that built the technology… wouldn’t that help?

Fortunately, we have teachers like you that continue to realize hands-on is not just a chance to get out of the classroom and from behind a book: it’s a chance for students to write their own… with hands-on knowledge.

Energy4me employs the 5E instructional model.This model is a teaching sequence that can be used for entire programs, specific units and individual lessons. Energy4me lesson plans support the 5E constructivist learning cycle, helping students build their own understanding from experiences and new ideas.

Want to discuss and leave your thoughts? Join us and other teachers on Facebook and leave your comments –

You can also connect with us at

Going From STEM to STEAM — The Arts Have a Role in America’s Future, Too

Joseph Piro, Education Week

In education circles, STEM—the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—has been gathering, for want of a better descriptor, “alpha” status. Not only has President Barack Obama announced a $250 million public-private initiative to recruit and train more STEM teachers, but also the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top Fund grants competition is giving bonus points for applications that stress STEM instruction.

This funding is on top of the nearly $700 million the federal government already spends on science and math education programs within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies. Factor in what’s earmarked by individual states for STEM and a picture emerges of where a lot of tax money is rightfully going.

This generous support is being allocated in the belief (or fear) that the United States is becoming less competitive and secure, that we are losing our global-leader status in STEM fields and being eclipsed by other countries, mostly in Asia.

Yet, in the midst of all the STEM frenzy, we may want to do something riskier, and more imaginative, to save the country: turn STEM funding into STEAM funding. Inserting the letter A, for the arts, into the acronym could afford us even greater global advantage.

Many may be puzzled by this statement, considering that the arts have held a traditionally marginalized place in both American society and the school curriculum. And, in the eyes of some, support for the arts has a dubious payback, especially in areas of national concern such as defense, homeland security, and technology. The arts are something we do when we stop being serious. Friday afternoons spent drawing turkeys, pumpkins, and valentines in more classrooms than one might think can attest to this.

But just consider the following. A 2008 study from the National Endowment for the Arts, “Artists in the Workforce,” showed that individuals involved in the arts represent a sizable branch of the labor force, only slightly smaller than the total number of active-duty and reserve personnel in the U.S. military. What may also be surprising to some is that artists make up a larger occupational group than lawyers, medical doctors, or agricultural workers. The size of the artistic community gives it an astonishing $70 billion aggregate annual income. The country’s $316 billion communication and entertainment business employs a diverse range of artists, including musicians, actors, filmmakers, videographers, and architects. It is probably safe to say that most of these people prepared for their careers by participating in some sort of arts education program…


Joseph Piro is an associate professor of curriculum and instruction in the school of education at Long Island University’s C.W. Post campus, in Brookville, N.Y.

Teachers, what do you think?

SPE’s Ghana Section is committed to energy education!

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Ghana section, is growing and gaining momentum! With a growing membership and an enthusiastic board, they have made the commitment to make a difference in the oil and gas industry while doing something good for their community. The Ghana section will be supporting 10 schools in Accra and 10 schools in Takoradi with energy education materials including energy4me books and kits as well as classroom presentations.

SPE encourages all its members and sections to educate the public about energy and put a face on the industry. Energy is a critical issue worldwide, and SPE believes face-to-face contact is the ideal way to spread the word about energy conservation, the future of the oil and gas industry, and its impact on the planet.

The energy4me books and kits donated to the Ghana section were sponsored by energy4me, SPE’s energy education outreach program, and Colin Black, SPE EIC member and Director, Optima Solutions UK Ltd.

SPE and energy4me would like to thank the Ghana section in their energy outreach initiatives. Together, we can make a difference by sharing the facts about energy with the public and putting a face on the industry.

Keep up the good work!

Learn more about energy and energy careers.

The picture to the right shows the SPE Ghana board members and British High Commissioner, Mr. Peter Jones.

First Annual “New Faces of Engineering College Edition” Winners!

The National Engineers Week Foundation and partners honor top college engineering students by recognizing the most promising engineering professionals of tomorrow with their first annual New Faces of Engineering College Edition program.

Fifteen engineering students in their third, fourth, or fifth year were selected. Winners are recognized for academic excellence, leadership within student organizations, outstanding communication skills, non-engineering related community service and involvement in the engineering industry.

Moustafa Ezzat, a 5th year student from the British University in Egypt and student member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), was among the winners.

Since 2003, National Engineers Week Foundation has honored young engineering professionals with its New Faces of Engineering award.  This is the first year the popular initiative has expanded to recognize the best and brightest college engineering students.

Congratulations Moustafa Ezzat!

New Faces of Engineering College Edition is live on Facebook (  The page provides a source of academic and professional development opportunities available to students from National Engineers Week Foundation’s engineering association, university, and corporate partners.  Students can meet with their engineering peers in every field and learn about other events, internships, jobs, competitions, engineering associations and more.

Funding for New Faces of Engineering College Edition is provided by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). For more information, visit

Learn more about engineering careers.

The Ambassadors for Pakistan have done it again!

For the second year in a row, the “Ambassadors for Pakistan” have made several visits in their community presenting energy awareness and making an impact! The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) NED University Student Chapter in Karachi, Pakistan, conducted five Energy4me presentations this year in secondary schools, colleges and universities in Pakistan.

The student-run program promotes SPE and educates the surrounding schools about the oil and gas industry and the challenges facing it today.

The schools they visited

  1. Abdullah Government College
  2. The Fahim’s A-Levels School System
  3. CharterHouse Public School
  4. A.M.S.B Al-Madrast-us-Saifyat-ul-Burhaniya
  5. Jinnah University For Women

Energy4me and SPE would like to express our thanks to the commitment and continued efforts of this student chapter!

Ambassadors for Pakistan Team (2009-present)

  • Hernan Buijs- SPE Student Development Committee Officer (mentor, motivator, and visit sponsor)
  • M Turab Mehdi – Ambassadors for Pakistan – Team Executive Head & Planner
  • Tabinda Saeed – HR Manager
  • Syeda Hasan- Team Manager

New presenters added this year.

  • Sidra Chughtai – Presenter
  • Omer Ashan – Presenter
  • Shahzeb Barber – Presenter
  • Eijaz Danish – Presenter
  • Mufaddal Murtaza – Presenter

Energy4me encourages young industry leaders to get involved in their community by giving classroom presentations or holding educational outreach programs like the SPE NED student chapter. These presentations make a huge impact and inspire future generations!

Share with us your contributions and outreach efforts in your community that you are already making with Energy4me and email us at or read more on how you can get involved in your community!

Again, thank you to the SPE NED University Student Chapter on your continued education outreach efforts in Pakistan!

Energy Education Materials are a Hit!

Guest Author – Mary Spruill, Executive Director, National Energy Education Development Project (NEED)

Energy4Me materials developed in partnership with NEED are a huge hit and will be used by NEED’s trainers throughout the 2011-2012 school year.

Throughout the year, The NEED Project ( and Energy4me, the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) energy education program, work together on many energy education activities including the Teacher and Student Workshop at the Offshore Technology Conference and the Teacher and Student Workshop at SPE’s ATCE.  Each summer though, NEED’s energy programs get bigger and faster paced with so many kids and teachers to reach in only a few short weeks.  This June and July were no exception with over 550 kids and teachers in Washington, D.C. to participate in the 31st Annual NEED Youth Awards for Energy Achievement.  This event recognizes school groups who commit to learning about energy and to sharing their knowledge with their peers, their teachers and their communities.  Students submit portfolios of  their energy programming in April for review at the state and national level, and the winning schools come spend 4 days in the Nation’s Capital sharing their energy work, touring our monuments and museums, and meeting with elected and appointed officials.

On a sleepy Sunday morning during the conference – the kids are up early and working on hands-on activities featuring the lessons provided by Energy4Me and some lessons that NEED and Energy4Me created together.  The students are learning about porosity and permeability, and the work needed to bring oil and natural gas to market.  They learn about transportation efficiency too and consider ways to make the vehicles of tomorrow and their own driving habits more efficient too.  The activities from Energy4Me are engaging, fun, and provide students with the background they need to really understand the oil and natural gas resources we use each day.  They leave with big smiles, new friends, and new activities to take home to their communities and share.

As soon as the Youth Awards wraps up, NEED’s training team heads out to the NEED National Energy Conference for Educators.  This year’s conference in Denver, Colorado hosted 150 educators from across the country and from Thailand and the Saipan.  For a week, the educators were like students at summer camp – learning about each other and about energy so they could return to their classrooms and teach energy with excitement and fun.  The Energy4Me activities and the presentation resources allow students and teachers alike to look more deeply into oil and natural gas development and use.  This year’s opening speaker was Don McClure, Vice President for Community Relations, Legal and Finance at EnCana, one of America’s largest natural gas producers.  Don’s extensive background in energy provided teachers with a look at how diverse the industry is, the number of jobs available for all types of students, and the challenges and opportunities that abound in developing natural gas in America.  In the days that followed, teachers learned about density, drilling technologies, properties of oil and natural gas and are prepared to take the lessons home and open up the oil and natural gas world to their students.

But that’s not all.  After Denver, the team packed up and traveled to La Quinta, California for NEED’s Facilitator Training Conference.  This conference is hosted every few years and brings together teachers, NEED’s training staff, and energy professionals from many companies and  agencies to sharpen their facilitation skills, to train on new content and new materials, and to learn how to deliver energy curriculum and training to teachers in NEED’s 600+ energy trainings each year.  This year’s group of 40 trainers rolled up their sleeves and researched and presented about America’s leading energy sources, they debated the advantages and disadvantages of the energy sources we use today, and they developed methods to share energy information with teachers and students nationwide. The It is a busy (but fun!) summer and together with SPE, NEED is reaching thousands of teachers and students each year.  As America’s teachers head back to school this month, let’s take a minute to thank them and to encourage them to teach about energy as often as possible in class!

For the 2011-2012 NEED curriculum guides or to register for a NEED workshop near you visit!


North-east schools get educated at All-Energy 2011

All-Energy hosted an Education Day at its 2011 conference Thursday 19th May to help educate local schools about a range of renewable topics.

Organised by Aberdeen Council, Aberdeenshire Council, the Energy Institute and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Aberdeen, the event is aimed at teachers and careers advisors to help raise awareness of the Renewable sector.

The event also hosted the final of the ‘Electrocity Challenge’ where five teams of four children from Meldrum Academy, Peterhead Academy, Mackie Academy, Turriff Academy and Mintlaw Academy went head to head in an “ElectroCity” Competition.   ElectroCity is an online game that has been developed specifically for teachers and students between years 7 and 9. Students build and manage their own virtual towns and cities, making important decisions and learning about energy generation and environmental management. Representatives from a range of businesses led round tables to provide valuable industry information to subject-specialist teachers and career guidance experts.

Colin Black, SPE CG Chairman, Aberdeen Section, said:  “This event focuses on sharing information with teachers and pupils so they are better informed about the ‘whole energy’ sector and careers within it.  This includes the ‘energy mix’ of hydrocarbons and renewable as well as the vital role the oil and gas sector plays now and in the future.

This is a global energy industry with many opportunities for young people – SPE Aberdeen aims to continue to provide background information, facts, guidance on career paths and information on how to enter the industry.  This event is a positive step towards this.” 

SPE Aberdeen, along with other hosts, provided tour guides for teachers and pupils to meet many of the businesses exhibiting at the show. 

SPE collaboration with Schools is part of the global SPE initiative  and SPE volunteers will be working closely with Schools during various events throughout this next term and anyone wishing to lend support should contact the Aberdeen Section, Career Guidance Committee at

SPE Delta Section Visits Fontainbleau High School

Guest Author – Courtney Sample, SPE Delta Section

On March 25th, four SPE young professional members and five LSU students visited Fontainbleau High School in Mandeville to discuss the oil and gas industry to four 10th/11th grade classes in AP Chemistry and Physics. Each class session began with introductions and either an explanation of job titles or class levels at LSU. The Fontainbleau students received advice about working in the petroleum industry and preparation for college.

After introductions, the presenters showed a few power point slides from the Energy4Me prepared presentation. During the presentation the students had numerous questions about the industry and college life. One major topic of discussion was degree selection and college advice. Sofia Miranda, a freshman at LSU talked about the importance of time management in college versus high school and how important studying is in college. Wendy Redpath, a junior at LSU talked about her personal experience of switching from Civil to Petroleum Engineering and the course overlap between the two disciplines. Courtney Sample, a reservoir engineer for Chevron discussed the importance of internships for students to confirm their college major choice.  Elizabeth Mann, a facilities engineer for Shell talked about recruiting and what companies are looking for in students. Everyone was very engaged during the discussions and eager to ask questions about engineering.

Another major topic of discussion was the many opportunities in the oil and gas industry. Dakoriye Charles, a freshman at LSU discussed his traveling experiences because of the petroleum industry. Jack Carona, a petroleum engineer for Griffin and Griffin talked about how his non routine job changes daily.  Richard Zaunbrecher, a deepwater exploration team lead with Shell also talked about his experience as a supervisor in the petroleum industry. Partnering with LSU made this event a great success! The college and workforce perspectives helped the students understand what it means to be a petroleum engineer. Other participants included Teddy Yao a freshman at LSU and James Stiernberg a graduate student from LSU.

Learn more about becoming a petroleum engineer.

Santa Maria students place in the Santa Barbara County Science Fair!

Guest Authors – By Gayle Pratt and Kevin Yung, Santa Maria Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)

Since 2009, The Central Coast Education Collaborative – a project of the Santa Maria Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the Oil & Gas Industry – has partnered with local high schools to provide 4-8 students with a five-week summer engineering internship. The purpose of the internship is to engage and provide students with a contextual view of how engineering is used to develop innovative solutions for “real world” problems.  SPE members of the Santa Maria Section and professionals within the Oil & Gas Industry mentor the students on a daily basis throughout the duration of the project.

In 2010, the engineering experience was shared with the students by having them design, build and test an ocean wave energy extraction device.  Secondarily, the students were asked to consider the potential environmental impact of placing the device into service.  Field testing was conducted at the Venoco Pier in Carpinteria, California used to support their offshore platforms.  Guest speakers provided the students with context for the project including:  “Alphabet Soup – The Regulatory Agencies, Codes and Permitting”.  The students were also challenged to research the field of wave energy and the market viability of their device using The Marine & Hydrokinetic Technology Database housed on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.  The final stage of the internship required the students to prepare a presentation summarizing their project.  The students made the presentation at a number of venues – including SPE Santa Maria functions, school board meetings, energy-related conferences and established academic competitions.

The work of the students and support of the members of the Santa Maria Section of Society of Petroleum Engineers was well documented in 3 newspaper articles – most recently a 3rd place victory and a purse of $250.00 at the Santa Barbara County Science Fair.

Plans are already underway for the 2011 internship which includes expansion of students, mentors and projects as well as the opportunity for one team to secure college scholarships.

Learn more about this project or a career in engineering!