Special to The Sun
Five Edmond teachers recently attended a teacher-training workshop in Moore hosted by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board, and they walked away with hundreds of dollars in free classroom supplies. Now, they are encouraging other Oklahoma teachers to sign up for the free program.
OERB workshops instruct teachers how to use one of the OERB’s eight energy and science curricula in their classrooms. The curricula provide teachers from kindergarten through 12th-grade hands-on science lessons to educate their students about the oil and natural gas industry. The high school curricula also incorporate Language Arts and Social Studies.
The teachers who attended from Edmond are: Tracie Beauregard, Kristen Bennett, Ladonna Strong, Rachel Keller and Charlotte Jackson.
“We wanted to provide Oklahoma teachers with a program that engages their students, while also meeting state curricula standards,” said OERB Education Director Carla Schaeperkoetter. “We used oil and natural gas industry professionals and teamed them up with teachers to write the lessons. This way we know the lessons are not only well designed, but really engage the students in a meaningful way.”
OERB workshops are free of charge, and train teachers in how to appropriately use the curricula in their classrooms. Upon completion of the workshop, teachers go home with a free box of supplies, worth up to $700, a teacher’s guide and are mailed a $50 stipend for attending. Teachers who complete a curriculum also receive a free field trip for their classroom.
“The field trip is a really exciting benefit for the teachers,” Schaeperkoetter said. “Many times they tell us that this is the only field trip their kids get all year. Otherwise they wouldn’t have the resources to take them.”
The OERB is in its 17th year offering these free workshops. The hands-on curricula reach students at all ages and grade levels. The OERB provides the Little Bits program for early childhood education, Fossils to Fuel and Fossils to Fuel 2 program for elementary students, a Petro Active program for middle school students and CORE Energy for high school students. Each curriculum uses lab experiments, reading assignments, games and more.
Bennett teaches second-grade at Rose Union Elementary. She came to the workshop to be trained in how to use the Little Bits curriculum in her classroom.
“This is an amazing hands-on curriculum that teaches students about oil and gas in a fun, hands-on way,” Bennett said.
Keller, meanwhile, teaches third-grade at Washington Irving Elementary.
“Teachers who attend the OERB workshops are provided with resources that will be used continuously,” Keller said. “The experiences are always positive!”
For more information on OERB’s education programs, or to sign up for a workshop, visit www.oerb.com and click on the “For Educators” tab.
The OERB was created in 1993 by the Oklahoma Legislature and is funded through a voluntary one-tenth of 1 percent assessment on oil and natural gas producers and royalty owners. The agency’s purpose is to conduct environmental restoration of abandoned well sites and to educate Oklahomans about the importance of the petroleum industry.