Students, Educators Get an Up-Close Look at Technology and More at OTC!

The 2013 Offshore Technology Conference hosted 11 Houston-area high school groups as part of the Energy Education Institute on 9 May! About 250 students and teachers escaped from the classroom for the day to explore offshore technology through activities facilitated by our friends at the NEED Project. Groups modeled the challenges of  “Getting the Oil out” at different depths through artificial lift. Using straws and sponges, students were able to explain why perforated well casings can produce more petroleum or natural gas in horizontal drilling than ones without holes. These activities and more are available in the NEED Project’s “Exploring Oil and Gas” curriculum guide. (http://need.org/needpdf/ExploringOilandGas.pdf)


Industry tour guides took the students and teachers to the expansive OTC exhibit halls to discover the future of offshore technology. Many of the exhibitors shared presentations of their products by letting students climb in submersible vehicles, view 3D models of rigs, and interact with state-of-the-art simulations of the offshore drilling process. OTC recognizes the importance of engaging students in the opportunities of offshore energy careers, because they are the future of the industry!

Thanks to generous sponsorships of BP and ExxonMobil, both the student and teachers workshops were complimentary. If you missed out this year, check back for applications to the OTC 2014 Energy Education Institute!

Interested in attending a like workshop? Send us a note to energyed@spe.org

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Six Reasons to Invest in Better STEM Education


Check out this infographic we found courtesy of EDTECH! It demonstrates the importance of K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics instruction. Furthermore, the infographic illustrates how a firm math and technology-based education can improve students’ long-term job and career prospects.

Looking to make the case for better STEM investment in your school or district? Make the case visually with the following six reasons why every school should make STEM education a priority.

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Extra! Extra! Energy4me Has a Newsletter!

We are pleased and excited to launch the first edition of the Energy4me Newsletter! As you know, we’re the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ (SPE) global energy education outreach program offering factual educational resources to students, teachers, and the general public.

Published quarterly, the Newsletter will keep past workshop participants, educators, and SPE members updated with the latest information on resources and materials regarding energy education.

We also provide you with up-to-date information about upcoming educator and student workshops, volunteer and scholarship opportunities, and career profiles!

In short, the Newsletter is for you and anyone you know interested in energy education!

Sign-up to receive our newsletters HERE!

View the first Newsletter: HERE!

Watch our Energy4me promo video HERE!

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STEMtistic: Why Engineering Pays Off

This week’s blog is courtesy of ChangetheEquation.org. Do you have students interested in engineering as a career? From a financial perspective, there are many benefits to STEM and pursuing a career in the many engineering disciplines. Read why below.


The median annual earnings of an engineer with a bachelor’s degree are $75,000.

In fact, 8 of the top 10 majors associated with the highest median earnings per year are in engineering:

  • Petroleum engineering: $120,000
  • Pharmacy sciences and administration: $105,000
  • Mathematics and computer science: $98,000
  • Aerospace engineering: $87,000
  • Chemical engineering: $86,000
  • Electrical engineering: $85,000
  • Naval architecture and marine engineering: $82,000
  • Mechanical engineering: $80,000
  • Metallurgical engineering: $80,000
  • Mining and mineral engineering: $80,000


Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (2011). New Report on the Economic Value of 171 College Majors Links College Majors to Earnings. [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www9.georgetown.edu/grad/gppi/hpi/cew/pdfs/pressrelease.pdf. See also Carnevale, A.P., Melton, M. and Strohl, J (2011). What’s It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

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2013 is All About Energy Education!


2013 is under way and from Energy4me’s perspective, we plan on it being one where we continue to bring energy education to the classroom by educating teachers and students! That fact will be demonstrated at the annual Offshore Technology Conference – which takes place 6-9 May 2013 at Reliant Park, Houston, Texas, USA. www.OTCnet.org

For Houston-area educators, as part of the Energy Education Institute, learn ways to energize your classroom at the teacher workshop (grades 4-12) or bring your students (ages 15 or older) to OTC for an exciting STEM event that will showcase, firsthand, the exciting opportunities the oil and gas industry can offer. IMG9256-M

Live in the Houston-area? Want to be a part of this exciting opportunity? Send us an email to energyeducation@otcnet.org to register. There is no cost for the teacher workshop or HS STEM event.


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“WISH” Project Seeking Students with Interest in STEM Careers!

Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars (WISH), has a phenomenal opportunity for girls in their junior year of high school who have an interest in pursuing a career related to STEM.

Know someone?

The opportunity includes participation in an online learning community of female scholars. As members of the online learning community, girls participate in activities and challenges and have opportunities to interact with NASA engineers and researchers, as well as their like–minded peers!

 The WISH project culminates with an expenses paid residential experience at NASA Johnson Space Center in the summer of 2013! Wow!

WISH is accepting online applications until 3 January 2013. Follow the link to apply and for applicant requirements:  http://www.wish.aerospacescholars.org/apply .

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DYCE Academy Pupils Crowned Energy Apprentice Winners at SPE Aberdeen Conference

Guest Blog by Rene Flores, Energy Education Specialist

One of the great things about my role with Energy4me is the opportunity to share stories with you about student and teacher energy education workshops and competitions from SPE sections all around the world. This story comes all the way from Aberdeen, Scotland, where students from Dyce Academy were crowned winners of the Intervention and Coil Tubing Association (ICoTA) and SPE Energy Apprentice competition recently. A big congrats to them!

What interests me most are the international efforts of individuals and companies that devote their time and energy (pun intended!) to inspire the younger generation through these types of competitions. The competition is designed to improve awareness of career opportunities within the industry and search for the creative thinkers of tomorrow. How you ask? The challenge to student teams was to come up with an idea that carries the industry into the next century, by improving the extraction of North Sea Oil (a topic the city is widely known for.)

Now, I have to extend kudos to the other three school finalists before going any further, they are Cults, Kemnay, and Westhill Academies. Kemnay Academy was runner-up and Highly Commended by the judging panel for their downhole remotely operated vehicle (ROV) idea that improves access to oil reservoirs. Keep in mind the four schools mentioned were selected finalists teams and range from 14 to 18 in age.
The winning idea, Catalyst in Well Regeneration Project, in theory could allow oil companies to extract significantly more oil from existing wells and was praised for originality and practicality. After a short demonstration of lab experiments and presentation results the Dyce Academy team claimed between 75-95% of reserves could be extracted.

All students who took part were presented with a pen and certificate to mark their achievements and given access to the SPE ICoTA European Well Intervention Conference exhibit floor to mingle with leading figures in the industry. The winning school was awarded iPads and a small stipend to spend on school equipment.

ICoTA chairman, Callum Munro, added that he hoped the award would encourage young people to pursue a career within the industry saying, “What we hoped and what I believe we have achieved with The Energy Apprentice is to highlight the opportunities within the energy sector to young people. We are in the midst of a big skills shortage in the industry, so if we can get young people interested and engaged now it will ensure that the future is secure.”

As a former classroom teacher, I have always enjoyed the process of students learning to think, analyze, and collaborate with their peers to help solve a specific problem or project. When done effectively, the end result can be seen by the sense of accomplishment and excitement displayed by the students. This is a defining moment for any teacher because you know self-discovery and true learning has taken place. For the students of Dyce, Cults, Kemnay, and Westhill Academies, this workshop competition provided that opportunity.

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Energy Education Happening Globally at SPE Events!

Did you know that Energy4me energy education events are held globally in conjunction with events, SPE sections, and SPE student chapters?  Below is more information on upcoming Energy4me workshops and activities! Get involved!


Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) 2012 –http://www.spe.org/events/adipec/2012/pages/schedule/young_members.php 

Education Week – 9-13 November 2012: This four day programme is for the benefit of the best undergraduate geosciences and engineering students from international institutions. It is anticipated that some 60-80 students will be selected to attend the program. Students’ expenses will be fully covered through sponsorships. The purpose of this programme is to give the students a clear insight into the industry that they are about to join; to allow them to return to their universities and colleges with a positive story to relate to their fellow students; and to provide opportunities for students to form new friendships and to work together on joint activities. 

Teachers Workshop – 13 November 2012: Teachers’ workshop will be focused on educating the teachers about the energy world. SPE will ensure that educators will receive comprehensive, objective information about the scientific concepts of energy and its importance while discovering the world of oil and natural gas exploration and production. A variety of free instructional materials will be available to take back to the classroom. 

Education Day – 14 November 2012: Education Day is an initiative to introduce students to the discipline of petroleum engineering, and the industry in general. Targeting High School Students, (Grade 10 to Grade 12), invited industry professionals will share their experience with students and deliver talks on topics of general interest and relevance to the industry. The students will be given free access to the exhibition area during ADIPEC. They will be able to see firsthand the high end technology used by engineers and the sophisticated software available for solving many engineering problems. It is hoped that they will leave the conference with a better understanding of what petroleum engineers do and their role in the broader community. Equally important, they will also become aware that a petroleum engineering career is full of challenges, teamwork and responsibilities. 

Additionally, there will be “Education Days” at the below upcoming SPE events: 

SPE Middle East Unconventional Gas Conference and Exhibition (UGAS) 28-30 January 2013 – http://www.spe.org/events/ugas/2013/index.php 

SPE Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference (MEOS) 10-13 March 2013 – http://www.imexmanagement.com/show/70/meos-2013/


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Canadian Educator Says Teacher Workshop Impactful!

I’m Tim and I’m a 9th grade science teacher. I live in one of the energy sector centres of the entire world (Calgary, Alberta, Canada); in a Province with global acclaim. As a teacher, I am tasked with teaching the next generation about the truths of the oil and gas industry and what alternatives we have to move forward as a global economy.  Looking at the curriculum for the first time and fearing that I don’t know enough about the topic to give an honest and thorough explanation to my students, I knew I needed help and I needed it fast!

Luckily for me, an e-mail drops into my inbox about the Energy4me Teacher Workshop being offered in Calgary at the Canadian Unconventional Resources Conference.  While reading the e-mail, it became obvious that the workshop is exactly what I am looking for: a professional development program run by industry experts and directed towards helping teachers manoeuvre through the nuances of the energy industry and what that means to our students and the world as a whole. 

Without organizations such as Energy4me, teachers would continue to see only what is happening in the petroleum industry from the periphery: never truly understanding what diverse energy sources are.  I am looking forward to being able bring the resources I receive back to my school, many of which I believe will impact my teaching practice directly.  Thank you, Energy4me!

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How Kids Teaching Kids Works in My Classroom


Guest blog by Jeannine Huffman, CTE Energy & Design Instructor, San Joaquin County Office of Education – Stockton, CA. Courtesy of The NEED Project.

How did Jeannine Huffman convince her students to not only want to learn about energy content, but remember it as well? Her strategy was kids teaching kids… read more in this fascinating blog post!

At the end of the school year my high school students know energy transformations, energy sources, and electricity generation by heart. In fact, when Pacific Gas and Electric sent a team to help students conduct an energy audit, the professionals said that our students were the only students they had ever worked with who could name every form and source of energy, each transformation, and how electricity was generated.

How did I accomplish this? I first had to convince my students at the beginning of each year to want to learn and remember the energy content.  I did this by introducing them to the Learning Pyramid. I have known about the Learning Pyramid, but have not had an opportunity to fully put its method into action until I began using NEED curriculum. I have grown more and more convinced that the Pyramid is representative of the belief that when Kids Teach Kids they retain and apply the content more effectively.

How does it work in my classroom?  I post the Learning Pyramid Chart and refer to it during class, reminding the students that our goal is to reach the top. At the bottom of the chart is Lecture 5%, so I say to my students, “If I stand up here and lecture, you will only remember 5%. In fact, you probably wonder how you are ever going to remember everything.” Student buy-in is critical and right away they see on the chart that they will only remember 10% if they read along with my lecture. As students move up the chart, adding visuals to reading and lecture, the retention increases to 20%. This affords the students a chance to tap into their meta-cognitive skills which means they are thinking about their own learning and taking personal responsibility to examine how they learn.

Demonstrations help students remember a concept but it has been suggested that they will only remember 30%.   How do I know this? When asked to explain energy transformations, or energy flow from the sun, most cannot explain the concept completely. Allowing students to discuss in groups and as a class may increase their retained knowledge up to 50%.  As a teacher you will reap rewards, and they will too, by allowing them to discuss and collaborate.  It is OK for a classroom to be noisy.  Science and technology aren’t silent.   After demonstrations and discussion about half the class can explain the energy flow well.

When students practice by doing, the retention can increase to 75%.  Through repetition, most students are able to easily explain the energy transformation. Let your students experiment, explore and work in teams. It is more work for you to set up multiple labs, but the return on the investment of teacher time is significant.  NEED’s hands-on kits (wind, solar, Science of Energy and more) come with equipment for demonstrations and experiments like the Hand Generated Flashlight that students use to see how motion energy transforms to electrical energy.  Hands-on learning always requires more investment of time in the classroom, but it pays off in student performance and classroom success.

The biggest return on the investment is when students are afforded the opportunity to teach others. This is not a surprise to NEED teachers. For example, once you became a teacher, your first lecture on electrons made much more sense and led to more personal understanding.  The same holds true for your students. Unless they can explain each step accurately, they do not really understand the concept. What a perfect way to assess your students on the spot! The work that goes into preparing to teach a class prepares students for energy presentations and other academic presentations they will give throughout the year. It is an effective, and fun, way to bring important concepts about energy out of the classroom and into the community.  Teach each other, teach others.

What is the gain by taking extra classroom time for every student to teach each other? A whopping 90%.  I believe it! There is a great deal of satisfaction in observing them as they teach and as I assess them informally.  Once students are trained in this method, they know they do not leave the classroom until they have taught others. By the time the student teams have practiced and presented lessons, they have heard the concepts better than they ever expected.  Moreover, students seem to compete with one another to see who can give the best presentation! The classroom becomes a truly cooperative learning space and students all pay better attention, are more engaged and accountability and responsibility for learning skyrockets.  One freshman, who was struggling to grasp a concept after several attempts to explain, finally had an AH HA! moment and said, “I will never forget this!” This is what a teacher lives for!

To embed this knowledge, I reinforce regularly in a playful way. Out of the blue I will say, “I just heard a noise outside who can trace that energy flow from the sun?” Hands shoot up as students have become very aware of energy around them.

This about this:  I was talking with my niece about teaching electrolytes in my chemistry class. My niece said, “I memorized what the definition of an electrolyte was and passed my chemistry class last year, but I can’t even tell you what it is now.” This statement disturbed me. How many of us are good at memorizing facts but still don’t know how to apply that knowledge? Teach them to teach and they will never forget!

I love the NEED curriculum.  But it is only recently that I have come to realize the importance of the motto, “Kids Teaching Kids.” It was not until I had firsthand experience with the Learning Pyramid that see and know how well it works.

Learn more about the NEED project at www.NEED.org

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