Magic and a Whole Lot of Learning!
By Marva Morrow, Educational Consultant
Question: What happens when 200 students and 100 science teachers converge on the exhibition of 2,500 companies representing 46 countries, including 200 new exhibitors and many from Bahrain, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania and New Zealand, to name a few?
On Thursday, 3 May 2012, Houston-area high school students and science teachers attended the Offshore Technology Conference’s Energy Education Institute to learn more and provide depth about the oil and gas industry.
Educators from the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) led hands-on science experiments showing how science and math relate to real-life applications in the industry. Students were then led on tours of the exhibit floor by volunteers from BP’s Challenge program. The young professionals hopped right into the experiments with the high school students and made the activities come alive. While touring the exhibits, an ”Interactive Energy Scavenger Hunt” took place, along with the opportunities to ask questions of industry professionals and view the amazing new offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production and environmental protection. This prompted one student, Nathan Spann, a senior at Rosehill Christian School to make his career choice on the spot, by exclaiming that he’d like to be a petroleum engineer!
Simultaneously, science and math teachers representing grades 4-12 were being instructed by NEED receiving comprehensive, objective information about the scientific concepts of energy and its global significance. Teachers even received a variety of free instructional materials to take back to their classrooms.
Raynell Vallejo, a teacher from Klein Forest High School said, “This is such a wonderful opportunity for our students. The oil and gas industry offers such a variety of career opportunities for our students.”
“Next year, I intend to incorporate the experiments and discussion concepts of how, for example, porosity and density are related to the oil and natural gas industry into my physics class,” said Jennifer Thomas, math and physics teacher from Rosehill Christian School. “We are a Houston based school and a lot of our students will become employed by the oil and gas industry. I’m excited to bring this information to our younger students, also, to educate them on these topics and careers for them to consider.”
And, that’s what happens when learning becomes relevant!
BP sponsored the high school STEM event and Exxon Mobile sponsored the teacher workshop— making these educational experiences possible!