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UKOOA and Earth Science

The Earth Science Education Unit, based at Keele University, uses a dedicated team of 20 specialists to enthuse and motivate science teachers in schools and training colleges across the country through a range of interactive workshops entitled “Teaching the Dynamic Earth”.

Practical guidance is given on topics such as plate tectonics, the rock cycle and rock formation, including ideas on how to demonstrate complex geological phenomena using materials that can be found in any science prep room or classroom cupboard. The service is provided free of charge and is tailored to support the National Science Curriculum at Key Stages three and four.

Chris King, the Unit’s director, says: “At the project’s heart lies the issue that very many science teachers come from biology, chemistry or physics backgrounds and have little or no experience of teaching Earth Science. Yet they are still expected to teach the subject as part of the secondary school curriculum. The workshops aim to build teachers’ background knowledge, confidence and enthusiasm while at the same time helping to develop pupils’ thinking and problem-solving skills.”

The five-year programme is sponsored by UKOOA. It follows a successful two-year pilot, also funded by UKOOA, which brought workshops to over 1,700 qualified and trainee teachers in the Midlands, North West England and Yorkshire, potentially reaching more than 300,000 pupils.

The offshore industry’s involvement in the project stems from its interest in balancing the economic, social and environmental challenges associated with exploring for and producing oil and gas.

James May, UKOOA’s director-general, said: “The launch of the Earth Science Education Unit is an opportunity for industry and education to reinforce how important science is to everyone’s understanding of the Earth’s complexities. It will help equip young people with the knowledge they will need as tomorrow’s stewards of the world’s resources in future debates about energy.”

Website Links

Earth Science Education Unit: www.earthscienceeduction.com
Earth Science Teachers Association: www.esta.org

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