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Grades3 to 12
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This site hosts an interactive map, along with bountiful information about the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010. The interactive map updates daily during the aftermath of the ...more
This site hosts an interactive map, along with bountiful information about the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010. The interactive map updates daily during the aftermath of the spill, allowing users to chart the gradual growth of the spill in the Gulf Coast. It also allows users to "move the spill" to their hometown, providing a better perspective of how big the spill actually is. The information on the site is mostly specific to this spill, but there are connections to how wildlife has been affected by this and others like it in the past. Note the links on the bottom that host information about other spills, and the dramatic pictures of the wildlife suffering from the sludge. The images are graphic, so use with caution in an elementary classroom where students are apt to react strongly to images of animals suffering.
In the ClassroomThis site and information it hosts are great at capturing two essential skills in Social Studies. To begin with, it's an excellent map reading source, especially to demonstrate regarding map distortions and how they can change the shape of something like a projected oil spill. It also highlights concerns about deep-sea drilling, a heavily contested topic, particularly after the oil spill of 2010. Both government and earth science classrooms could investigate aspects of drilling as real world topics related to the curriculum.
Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard before allowing cooperative learning groups to explore, giving the teacher a chance to explain how the map works and what kind of information is on the site. Have cooperative learning groups explore the site and summarize important details, such as how people and wildlife are affected by environmental disasters. This would be a great review activity before a debate on deep-sea drilling. Classes can also chart the growth of the spill for a period of days to trace how much it changes, providing evidence for the debate. Government classes could use this and other references as part of a simulation on how the U.S. government reacts to environmental disasters and discussions of related policy issues. Younger students will need assistance reading some of the text-based material.