Chemical Plant Tours Help Teachers Teach

Aug. 1, 2016

By Jordan Martin

As an aspiring teacher, I want to know the best practices to teach my students. I want them to learn and enjoy the process of learning. So when my editor emailed me an article from The Observer in Texas, I was all too excited to read it.

According to The Observer article, teachers in Harris County, Texas, had the opportunity to inspire their students in the field of science. By attending a four-day workshop, these teachers were able to gain insight into better ways to encourage their students to seek out a career in STEM. The teachers were given the knowledge base to help students choose a professional career after school.

The article notes that the workshop featured tours of chemical plants, an overview of the Houston Ship Channel and a consumer product bucket assembly of products produced by companies in the Houston area such as Ziploc baggies, Gorilla Gel, masking tape, Ivory soap and baby diapers. Educators then take those buckets back into their classrooms to show students tangible items produced by industry.

Nearby companies have sent industry workers and other personnel to this workshop to educate teachers so that their students will possibly choose to work for their company after their schooling has been completed. These companies will also be searching for students specifically from Harris County to fill the workforce in coming years.

“We offer a spectrum of jobs in our industry but our workforce is our future,” says Monty Heins, Dow Chemical Company employee and chairman of the East Harris County Manufacturers Association. “It’s an important piece of what our organization does.”

One of the most challenging aspects of being a teacher is making the material relevant to the students. Now, these teachers are able to show their students how science is relevant to their lives on a daily basis and to potential careers. Field trips are offered to students of all ages to encourage them to consider a career in STEM as early as preschool. It is necessary to inform students of the relevance of science and the possibilities for a career in the science industry, or else it is unlikely that a student will show any interest in the class.

You can read the entire article here.

Jordan Martin is Chemical Processing’s Social Media Outreach Program Intern. She aspires to teach English to high school students upon graduation from college. She wants to encourage students to love the English language.