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Energy Days event crackles with life

Article in April 9, 2010 edition of The Bruin by David Austin

Energy Days 2010

The 13th Annual Energy Days event was truly electric. Focused on opening up the world of science to fi fth graders from throughout the area, Energy Days attracted 867 students to the main ballroom of the Bartlesville Community Center over its three-day span from March 23-25. The youngsters hailed from 17 different schools and were assisted as they made their way through 10 different science-focused stations by an estimated 250 volunteers.

Fifth grade students from each of the seven elementary schools within the Bartlesville Public School District – Hoover, Jane Phillips, Oak Park, Ranch Heights, Richard Kane, Wayside and Woodrow Wilson – took part in the 13th Annual Energy Days event.

“I heard one teacher say that she had never been in a room where there were almost 200 students and all of them were engaged in science,” says Becky Hoover, the director of Energy Days and an erstwhile educator. “All of the students were busy, and they were all having fun.”

As in years past, the 13th Annual Energy Days event allowed students to filter into the main entrance into the ballroom and then throughout the various stations over a two-hour period. Each of the stations offered hands-on insight into the world of science, allowing for fun and illuminating demonstrations and experiments.

While one group of students might be looking through microscopes, another might be investigating the contents of a test tube. Still another might be glued to a computer screen, anticipating the next lesson to come. On each given day, the ratio of students to volunteers was around 5-to-1. A large portion of the group of 250 volunteers was comprised of current and retired employees of ConocoPhillips while there were some former educators on hand as well. The Chevron Phillips Chemical Company provided some volunteers, also.

"The students really were eager to learn about the information that we had for them,” says Hoover. “They listened closely and really paid attention. The teachers always thank me for having Energy Days. They appreciate having this information to take back to their respective classrooms.”

The 10 stations which were featured at this year’s Energy Days event included the Petroleum Scavenger Hunt; Science of the Underground; Tools of the Trade/Good Vibrations; Oil Meets Water; Petroleum IQ; Petroleum Mix and Match; Rock Lab; Alternate Energy; Hot Spots; and Climate and Energy.

In the Rock Lab, youngsters learned about the kinds of rocks in which oil can be found. The Hot Spots area offered insight as to how electricians – using infrared technology – can discover “hot spots” on the edges of oil tanks, thereby preventing potential disasters.

New to Energy Days this year was the Climate and Energy station, which was led by Hoover’s husband, Gary Hoover. It focused on weather and the effect it has on the planet.

In addition to the Bartlesville Public School District, other school districts which were represented at the 13th Annual Energy Days event included Dewey, Skiatook, Barnsdall, Bowring, Sedan (Kan.), Oklahoma Union, Osage Hills, Copan, Wesleyan and St. John's. Some area home school students also attended.

ConocoPhillips, through the Education/Career Development Committee Foundation, served as the primary sponsor of Energy Days. Other sponsors included the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, David Greene Incorporated, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the Tulsa Geological Society and Joshi Technologies International, Inc.

Helping Hoover organize Energy Days this year were Sharon Wade, Judy Yang-Logan, Eric Kennedy, Ken Farmer, Mike Dronyk, Marion Cabler, Dennis Logan, Bill Baker, RaNee Stumpff and Edna Osborn.

Each of the students who attended Energy Days was given a complimentary T-shirt while the volunteers received one as well. “I think the volunteers really enjoy helping out at Energy Days every year,” says Hoover. “They always give me their names as they are leaving so that I will be sure to call them again. I usually do.”

Hoover spent 16 years working within the Bartlesville Public School District, both as an instructor and a science specialist. Once she retired, she helped to create Energy Days. Hoover has directed the Energy Days event since its debut in 1997 as part of the Oklahoma Energy Centennial in Bartlesville. The initial program proved so popular that Hoover decided to fashion it into an annual event. Thanks to the sponsors and volunteers, Energy Days is provided free of charge to students, teachers and the participating schools.

“I’m glad we’ve been able to offer Energy Days throughout the years, and I’m thankful for all of the help that we’ve received,” says Hoover. “It is an anticipated annual event. Older brothers and sisters get to experience it, and then they tell their younger siblings about it. Soon, it is their turn to participate.” Such is the cycle of life – and science – at Energy Days.



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