Abram Lozano loves school but he said he has had the most fun with hands-on activities his campus brought in specifically for sixth graders.
Lozano is referring to Offshore Energy Center’s $1.2 million travelling educational exhibit Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit (MOLU). The exhibit made an appearance recently at A.P. Solis Middle School in Donna where Lozano goes to school. It costs approximately $2,000 to rent but the district was able to get it free thanks to sponsor Halliburton Company, one of the largest oil-field-service corporations in the world.
“It’s actually pretty cool because it’s teaching us about a lot of new things,” Lozano said. “I like the questions. Sometimes they’re hard and sometimes they’re easy. I like how we can do all the different activities.”
Steven Vance oversees the exhibit as the MOLU facilitator. “The exhibit gives students an opportunity to experience hands-on learning outside of the classroom,” Vance said. “It also exposes them to the different careers that are available in the oil field that we don’t necessarily think of. When we think of the oil field we think of working in a drilling rig. But there are other careers available and this exhibit opens their eyes to what’s out there.”
The exhibit consists of six self-contained learning stations with curriculum-based, hands-on activities about energy and the technologies and sciences involved with the oil and gas industry. The curriculum for each of the 24 activities is based on national and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) state standards. The MOLU is geared to fifth grade students but Donna ISD selected sixth graders to participate in the activities.
“The pace required to complete all the stations in the 90-minute session is pretty fast for elementary students so we targeted sixth graders,” Donna ISD Science Director Emily Anderson said. “They are a little more independent and can work a little faster. This project is great because it opens their minds to the different careers that are out there and possible for them. Some of them require high school degrees while others require advanced degrees. This exhibit will help them to start thinking about those professions.”
Some high-paying careers in the oilfield include drilling consultant, engineer, geologist, foreman and superintendent. Vance said the display incorporates activities that gives students an idea what these positions are about. “One of the displays is about engineering and brings out the student’s thinking ability,” Vance said. “Another display focuses on geology and another on robotics. They each have their own instructions. A student may not remember every station but they’ll remember the one they liked the most which highlights a certain profession.”
Lozano said he likes that the exhibit offers the different aspects of technology. “I’ve been thinking since I was little that I want to become a game developer when I grow up,” Lozano said. “I play a lot of video games and I like the colors and technology that’s in it, so that’s why I want to become a game developer. I just hope my dreams come true.”
Student Daffeny Varela was also impressed with the exhibit. “It’s actually amazing because you can learn things you don’t really know about oil rigs,” Varela said. “You can see things you haven’t seen in life and learn more things about them.”
The exhibit was also on display at Donna ISD’s three other middle schools and two elementary campuses.