NORMAN — Two Norman teachers, Cindy Pennington and Vanna Owens, recently attended teacher-training workshops in Mustang and Owasso, hosted by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board, and walked away with hundreds of dollars in free classroom supplies.
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.
“We wanted to provide teachers with a program that engages their students, while also meeting the new Oklahoma Academic Standards,” OERB Education Director Carla Schaeperkoetter said. “We used oil and natural gas industry professionals and teamed them up with Oklahoma teachers to write the lessons. This way we know the lessons are not only well designed, but meet state requirements and 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 $1,100, 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 programs 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.