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What Happens When 110 Teachers Get Together?

Author: ; Published: Jul 13, 2010; Category: Classroom materials, Education outreach, Energy, Energy Education, Science; Tags: , , , , , , , , ; Comments: Comments Off

NEED National Energy Conference for Educators

Guest Author – Mary Spruill, NEED Executive Director

They learn. They get energized. They network. They take away inquiry activities designed to teach about energy in an exciting way in the classroom. This week, Energy4me’s partner, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project, brought together 110 teachers – ranging K-12 – to Dallas, Texas for the National Energy Conference for Educators. Teachers and energy educators from over 20 states and Thailand are in attendance. The conference kicked off with Energy Bingo as an icebreaker to get the group engaged and thinking about energy, and ready for a week of fun. 

The Society of Petroleum Engineer’s (SPE) Executive Director, Mark Rubin, started day two with an excellent synopsis of the oil and natural gas exploration and production process. Mark covered the most important things first – where to find the best BBQ and  Mexican food in Dallas – and then provided an industry overview beginning with the basics of exploration to a discussion of today’s challenges with the Mocondo blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico. Teachers shared that they were impressed that Mark didn’t shy away from questions, but provided answers and led discussion about even the most difficult of topics in the industry right now – the Gulf oil spill and hydraulic fracturing. Mark’s presentation was rated best ever by one of NEED’s veteran facilitators in attendance. 

Each year, NEED hosts conferences to provide educators the opportunity to increase their own energy knowledge and learn ways to integrate it in their classrooms. Energy can be taught anywhere in the curriculum and at any age level, while writing poems and songs, while learning about the solar system or sedimentary rock, or even learning to count, and while designing experiments and finding new ways to engineer solutions to old challenges. 

Attendees seek funding from local sources and often apply to NEED for scholarships to attend. NEED is honored to have sponsors and partners who believe in the importance of energy education and in the value of an investment in a teacher. Think of all the young minds that will be energized by one teacher returning from this conference with classroom curriculum and hands-on kits to teach about the forms of energy, energy sources, electricity, transportation, and energy efficiency. The reach of that teacher is virtually endless. Tomorrow, the group will tour an Encana drilling site in Denton, Texas on the Barnett Shale. Up close and personal. When we see it, discuss it, and learn about it – energy can be an overarching theme. It is something for each of us to understand as consumers and educators. 

 NEED is honored to be a partner of SPE’s Energy4me program and is grateful for SPE’s donation of the Oil and Natural Gas book for all participants. 

Want to learn more about NEED?  Visit  Want to come to summer camp for teachers next year?  Watch for details on

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