Virtual Oil Well Game
This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.
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This game motivates students to learn some of the geological issues involved with oil exploration, particularly about interpreting seismic data. It also emphasizes the costs entailed in the exploration, in working with consultants, and in meeting regulations.
Context for Use
This game can eat up a lot of time (especially if students are guessing), so it may be useful to show it to them, give them the URL, and be prepared to answer a few questions about seismic stratigraphy and well logging during the next class. The players will need a fast Internet connection and a Java-equipped browser.
Description and Teaching Materials
Players will need a fast Internet connection and a Java-enabled browser. The applet is available on AGI's Earth Science World web site and is surprisingly fast and stable.
Teaching Notes and Tips
This game is most useful to students who are fairly competent at interpreting seismic diagrams as the consultants and other help provided with the game are not likely to give the students enough information to win without guessing.
Formal assessment not recommended. See if your students will try it on their own and measure the game's value in terms of the questions it generates.
References and Resources
The University of South Carolina has an entire USC Sequence Stratigraphy (more info) including movies, exercise modules, and enough hyperlinked instruction to constitute a textbook. This could be used for actual instructional material, with the game as the "hook" to interest the students.