STEM Education Made Fun
HOUSTON, - -Saudi Aramco’s position as one of the world’s leading energy companies made it a natural fit for its U.S. subsidiary, Aramco Services Co. (ASC), to develop a new community education program in partnership with the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS).
The “Aramco iExplore” program completed pilot testing recently with a focus on the topic of energy.
About 50 fifth-grade children from two schools in the greater Houston community participated in the pilot. It consisted of a one-day workshop for fifth-grade Houston Independent School District (HISD) teachers and a subsequent field trip for their students to learn about energy.
“Research shows that getting students interested in math and science at an early age, about 10 or 11, makes a dramatic impact on influencing them to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM),” said Alma Kombargi, supervisor of CSR and Branding in ASC Public Affairs.
“We wanted to create a unique experience for both educators and students to inspire them to study in these areas, since they are the future generation of employees for companies like ours,” she added.
The program has two major components. The first component is comprised of a one-day teacher workshop that includes a tour of the Wiess Energy Hall in the HMNS, lesson plans and classroom activities for energy education, and a discussion of energy career options presented by ASC geological specialist Gretchen M. Gillis.
The second component is the “fun” on-site student field trip to the HMNS. Students are pre-tested before their visit to HMNS and then classes tour the Wiess Energy Hall and participate in an interactive demonstration lab while focusing on the subject of energy.
Students receive “hands-on” experience learning about energy, which ASC hopes will carry on throughout their education. This type of enrichment supplements classroom learning and is highly effective, according to educators.
The program will expand to additional schools in the fall, leading off the school year in September and running through December 2013.
During the four-month period, ASC Public Affairs plans to have 15 schools with hundreds of children and their teachers participating in “Aramco iExplore: Energy.”
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