Can you hear the oil down there?

Jennifer Callan teaches environmental science at Jonathan Alder High School and recently attended a workshop for educators presented by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP). This workshop provides attendees with lessons and supplies for hands-on classroom activities. Callan describes her class’s exploration activity:

“My goal with this activity was to demonstrate how geologists use seismic technology to get an idea of what formations can be found underground before drilling. My students had already learned how oil and natural gas were formed and that it can be found mostly in shale rock. I presented the sound boards and told them that each board contained ‘oil’ somewhere inside. The students had to brainstorm how to find out where. They suggested several ideas, from digging all the way down to putting cameras underground. I reminded them that we needed to figure it out with what we had in class. Finally, someone figured it out by knocking on the board. At this point, the other groups began knocking on theirs too. I stopped them and gave further instruction—they were to use graph paper to map out where the ‘oil’ was.”

Callan said her students found it difficult to accurately mark out where the oil formations were, and several missed large sections of the ‘oil field’. She said this helped the students to understand the difficulties of locating oil:

“I would recommend the OOGEEP workshop to anyone teaching environmental science, chemistry, or engineering!” Callan said. “Many of the principles covered in the workshop are great, hands-on, real world applications of the sciences. This provides an answer to the age-old question, ‘When am I ever going to use this?!’ The OOGEEP workshop gave me excellent activities to supplement teaching about non-renewable resources. It helped me understand more about fracking and oil production, so that I could in turn pass that along to my students.”