Teachers Energize Lesson Plans to ‘Rock’ New School Year

September 10, 2017

Cambridge Daily Jeffersonian. Science and geology teachers representing 35 Ohio counties including a Guernsey County teacher, began the school year ready to share exciting new experiments and science-based educational materials with their students thanks to a series of energy workshops.

The free summer workshops, facilitated by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, provided teachers with innovative applications of STEM and geology lesson plans and activities.

The workshops also helped teachers connect Ohio science-based educational requirements to an energy industry that has a prolific impact to the state.

“It’s important for teachers and students to learn about a technology-oriented industry that operates 365 days a year and impacts every single resident in this state,” said Rhonda Reda, OOGEEP executive director. “Ohio’s oil and gas producers are proud to support teachers and students in our communities and give them a better understanding of how science, technology, engineering, math, chemistry and geology education is critical to developing our local energy resources.”

OOGEEP’s STEM workshops featured curriculum that is adaptable to grades K-12.

It includes experiments that demonstrate how biotic material is transformed into hydrocarbons; explain the principles of geologic time and how crude oil and gas are stored and move through rock formations; help students understand how scientists map geologic formations underground using sound waves; demonstrate the importance of engineering and math in drilling, producing and transporting crude oil and natural gas; and how chemistry is critical to refining and processing hydrocarbons into more than 6,000 familiar products such as plastics, soaps, medicines, synthetic fibers and rubber.

“The OOGEEP workshop provides teachers with an opportunity to obtain information that can be used in the classroom,” said science teacher Mike Gray of River View High School. “The workshop is presented in a fun teaching environment that can provide a good learning experience for the students.”

“OOGEEP opened my eyes to the oil and gas industry in Ohio,” said science teacher Olivia Muntz of Union Scioto Middle School in Chillicothe. “It was very informative and an experience I can take to the classroom, bridging the gap between education and real-world experience.”

The OOGEEP Geology workshop provided lesson plans and hands-on activities based on the new Physical Geology Standards that until recently had been removed from K-12 required curriculum. The lessons and hands-on experiments featured subjects such as the Earth’s layers, continental drift and plate tectonics, mineralogy and energy resources.

“OOGEEP offered teachers a unique real-world exposure to Ohio geology and how it pertains to energy resources and opportunities for student learning and careers,” said science teacher Joyce Morrell of Joseph Welty Middle School in New Philadelphia.

“OOGEEP provided an amazing opportunity for me to learn in a hands-on geological adventure,” said Laura Dotterer of River Elementary School in Hannibal. “I have gained a wealth of knowledge to take back and share with my students.”

On the second day of each workshop, teachers were provided with unique field trips that featured tours to a variety of oil and gas related facilities as well as opportunities to collect fossils and personally view geological outcrops of shale formations.

The 2017 summer workshop field trips included a variety of oil and gas related stops at Antero Resources Corporation, Ascent Resources, LLC, DeepRock Disposal Solutions, Kimble Companies, Ken Miller Supply, Inc. and Rice Energy Inc.

Special speakers included Mac Swinford, a retired geologist formerly with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological Survey; and Greg Mason, a geologist and the Exploration and Production Manager with the The Energy Cooperative.

“The first-hand experience will help me bring the earth science curriculum to life,” added science teacher Mike Liston of Tolles Career and Technical Center in Plain City.

All participating Ohio teachers received lesson plans, classroom lab supplies, geological maps, digital resources, rock and mineral kits, videos and lots of other educational materials. Teachers also qualified for continuing education unit (CEU) credits and an optional graduate credit from Ashland University.

Through the generosity of Ohio’s oil and gas producers that fund OOGEEP, there is no cost for Ohio teachers to attend these unique educational workshops. To date, there have been over 2,900 Ohio teachers that have participated in these workshops representing more than 1,491 schools from all 88 of Ohio’s counties.

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