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Aramco iExplore: Making Science Fun

The Aramco iExplore: Energy toolkit contains specially designed materials for teachers to use in the classroom. Actual rocks for game pieces and fun-filled activities leave a lasting impression on students.

Celebrating its one year anniversary, the Aramco iExplore: Energy program is demonstrating success in terms of having an impact on teachers and students when it comes to learning about energy-related subjects.  At the foundation of the program is a fun-filled educational toolkit that makes learning about science fun for both teachers and their fifth grade students.  The program has received industry attention as well, recently recognized as a finalist in the “Best Outreach Program” category in the 13th Annual World Oil Awards “Honoring Groundbreaking Strides in the Oil and Gas Industry.”

Created by ASC in partnership with the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS), the program focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics—also known as STEM subjects—to spark student interest in the energy industry, particularly in engineering and geoscience careers.

Thirty-seven fifth grade science teachers from local area public schools participated in a recent educator workshop which included lab demonstrations, specially prepared energy-related activities, and a geologist guest speaker from ASC.  The museum served as a backdrop for the activities with a tour of the Wiess Energy Hall to see firsthand how oil and gas are extracted from the Earth.  Saudi Aramco is a major sponsor of this dedicated energy exhibit. 

Reports by the U.S. National Science Board show that the number of college students graduating with science and engineering degrees in the United States is much lower than students in Europe and Asia.  The program aims to excite educators and make them feel more comfortable teaching energy-related topics. 

Pre-and post-tests were administered to the teachers to measure comprehension of what they learned.  On average, teachers scored nearly 20 percent higher. The test numbers create a baseline measurement showing promise for the future success of Aramco iExplore

The creative toolkit provided to participating teachers this school season included a teaching guide, a radiometer (or device for measuring the power of electromagnetic radiation), and a geology game featuring rocks as game pieces. Teacher feedback gave the toolkit high marks, and many said they will be incorporating the activities into their daily routine. 
Aramco iExplore is free of charge and ASC expects to educate nearly 500 students and their teachers for this school year.  World Oil magazine will be announcing the winner in this category in October; however, if the results from the first workshop are any indication, Aramco has already won in terms of leaving a lasting impression on teachers who are shaping young minds.

ASC Upstream Geological Specialist Gretchen Gillis served as a guest speaker during the first Aramco iExplore educators’ workshop of the 2014-2015 school year.


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