Petroleum Engineering


Students will design a model to demonstrate how hydraulic fracturing aids in extracting oil and gas from shale deposits thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. In teams, they will work to customize and improve drilling models.


Students will understand that horizontal drilling allows for more surface area of host rocks to be fracked after designing a model that demonstrates hydraulic fracturing methods.

Teacher Notes

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NGSS Standards

  • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.

  • HS-ESS3-2 Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.

  • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • HS.ESS3A.b All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors.

Expected Lesson Duration

Lesson 1 - Introduction: 30 - 60 minutes

Lesson 2 - Projects: 150 - 180 minutes

Lesson 3 - Quiz: 30 - 60 minutes