Woodward, Okla. —
The energy industry in Oklahoma, is not only a vital part of the economy and significant in Oklahoma history, but it is also inextricably intertwined with the land on which we live.
Because of these fundamental links, there is a need for Oklahomans to have a basic understanding of the industry.
That's where the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB) comes in.
OERB offers teacher training workshops and energy related curricula to provide Oklahoma educators with tools they can use to bring the science of energy to the classroom.
During these workshops, which are held in various communities each year, participating teachers are shown how to teach the OERB energy and science programs. Workshops are lead by master teachers, who have had classroom experience, and include hands-on activities. The workshops are free, lunch is provided and the teachers are mailed a $50 stipend for attending, said OERB officials.
Teachers are sent home with the supplies needed to teach the curriculum for the grade level of their students, said OERB officials. Included are materials for activities which are fun and also involve the use of critical thinking skills.
Area educators have taken part in the program, including Conni McDaniel, who teaches third grade at Horace Mann Elementary School in Woodward.
“I recently attended the OERB Fossils to Fuel (grades 3-8) workshop and am very impressed with OERB’s proactive approach to providing a curriculum that is not only aligned with Common Core state standards and Next Generation Science Standards, but also effectively integrates science with reading and math," she said.
Fossils to Fuel is one of five workshops offered by OERB. The others are Little Bits for K-2nd grade, Fossils to Fuel 2 for 3rd- 6th grades, Petro Active for 6th-9th grades and Core Energy for 9th- 12th grades.
“I was thoroughly impressed with the activities and lessons that were specifically designed to teach children about the oil and natural gas industry," said Alisha Cox, a workshop participant who teaches 4th grade in Mooreland. "Lessons ranged from learning about the different types of rocks found under the earth’s surface to building an oil derrick.”
Education material is also on the OERB website where teachers and students can find fun facts, digital books, virtual field trips and video labs. Teachers can also request to have a Petro Pro come to their classroom and demonstrate how oil and natural gas are formed.
Once a class has completed the program, the teacher can apply for a free field trip to one of nine Oklahoma museums, including Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City.
Upcoming workshops will be held in Ponca City, Idabel, Broken Arrow, Edmond and Ardmore. Details can be found on the OERB website, www.oerb.com, under the For Educators tab.
More than 11,700 Oklahoma educators have participated in the OERB workshops, which are now in their 18th year.