TeachersFirst's Oil Spill Resources

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about oil spills and the short and long term impact on the environment caused by these environmental disasters. As students read and see images of  animals, be aware that younger students may have more questions than they can explain. Use these resources together with your class to help them find ways they can contribute to a greater good after such a devastating event spreads across the news. View our full listing of resources tagged oil and oil spills.

Extend the opportunity to teach about persuasive writing (letters to legislators or the editor), careers in environmental science, and more.

 

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If It Were My Home - Disasters - Andy Lintner

Grades
6 to 12
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Put a known disaster into perspective. What would a disaster look like in your area? Choose from the Pakistan Flood or the BP Oil Spill. Be sure to click YES ...more
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Put a known disaster into perspective. What would a disaster look like in your area? Choose from the Pakistan Flood or the BP Oil Spill. Be sure to click YES for the map to be able to find your location. Use the blue buttons above the map to either move the disaster or put it in your actual location. Click Put It Back In ... to restore the map. Be sure to click Compare Living Conditions in Pakistan to compare other areas to Pakistan
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): disasters (40), floods (13), oil spill (19)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to show the disaster placed over where students live. Discuss the areas that would be affected, noting waterways, major buildings or attractions, and how the area would be affected by such a disaster. Have a discussion about short term and long term effects on the environment, jobs, and people's lives. Provide time for students to choose locations in the world to place the disasters. Search the various areas for jobs, agriculture, attractions, and native animals/plants that are affected. Identify how all disasters are devastating no matter where they are, including research on other problems that occur after the disaster. Write a letter to the editor expressing viewpoints of a disaster. Learn about how to best prepare and handle a disaster. Identify the different cultures in areas of the US and elsewhere and how relief needs can be different.

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Scientific American: Slide Shows - Scientific American, A division of Nature America, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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The slide show portion of the Scientific American website is a great visual resource for science teachers. The shows are organized in reverse chronological order from most recent to...more
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The slide show portion of the Scientific American website is a great visual resource for science teachers. The shows are organized in reverse chronological order from most recent to the oldest. The page is not searchable, but the site is. This would be great for science current events to tie into class. Some slide shows are graphic (a removed human brain!) and may need disclaimers when being shared with students.

tag(s): human body (133), microorganisms (15), oil (40), oil spill (19), organisms (21), slides (66), space (227)

In the Classroom

Try using this site when discussing how science relates to our current world. For instance, show the ten most dangerous moments for the space shuttle and the station history when studying astronomy. Incorporate the slide show about the Gulf oil spill and reading into a class blog for a biology unit on bacteria. This slide show demonstrates how microbes are used to clean up the oil. The pictures of the organisms are wonderful! Or, incorporate it into an environmental science class dealing with the impact of human behavior on the environment. Have students read and view the slide show as homework, and then discuss what they have learned via your class wiki or in class. Challenge students to create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Have students further discuss the potential problems with associated new microbes into the oil spill area.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Teaching the Levees - Teachers College Columbia University

Grades
6 to 12
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This site was created as a companion to Spike Lee's documentary "When the Levees Broke" about Hurricane Katrina. However, with the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf, the Louisiana levees ...more
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This site was created as a companion to Spike Lee's documentary "When the Levees Broke" about Hurricane Katrina. However, with the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf, the Louisiana levees were in the news again. The site contains a downloadable curriculum including lessons on the history of New Orleans, discussion of government's role in managing large-scale disasters, and concepts of environmental justice. There are links to other teachers' shared lesson plans, an accounting of the curriculum's relation to national social studies standards, and more information about the Spike Lee film itself.

tag(s): environment (323), hurricanes (40), louisiana (11), oil (40), oil spill (19)

In the Classroom

Use the site in conjunction with lessons on the US Gulf coast, or as an example of how we negotiate the government's role and responsibility in helping after a large-scale disaster. The menu includes access to pictures and comments from the general public. You will want to preview this area before sharing it in class. Have cooperative learning groups investigate specific areas of this site and create videos to share with the class using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).

Comments

Very good resource for more than just one discipline. I used it in my Global Studies class. I loved it. Kevin, MS, Grades: 6 - 12

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PWSRCAC - PWSRCAC

Grades
K to 12
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Prince William Sound Regional Citizen's Advisory Council provides a free curriculum that is geared toward teaching about oil and oil spills. While this curriculum is about Alaska's...more
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Prince William Sound Regional Citizen's Advisory Council provides a free curriculum that is geared toward teaching about oil and oil spills. While this curriculum is about Alaska's Exxon Valdez oil spill, the information would be very helpful in teaching about other oil spills in recent news. It would be a great place to help develop lessons where students compare and contrast two spills, their magnitude and their effects on the environment.

tag(s): environment (323), oil (40), oil spill (19)

In the Classroom

Use the whole curriculum in environmental science classes or pick and choose pieces that you want to incorporate into your curriculum. Have students research and understand about oil spills in general using this tool, and then have students expand by comparing and contrasting the Exxon spill to the BP spill in 2010. Have students create Venn Diagrams using a tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare these two spills or other oil spills.

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Lesson Plan: Oil Spill Solutions - TryEngineering.org

Grades
8 to 12
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This classroom simulation of an oil spill encourages students to think about how engineers work to find fast but effective solutions to oil spills. There are PDF student handouts. ...more
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This classroom simulation of an oil spill encourages students to think about how engineers work to find fast but effective solutions to oil spills. There are PDF student handouts.

tag(s): environment (323), oil (40), oil spill (19)

In the Classroom

Introduce the concept by talking about current events such as the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Provide students with the student worksheets. Have the students work through the laboratory, and debrief by having students discussion their answers to questions. Have students relate their solutions to attempts to clean up real life oil spills. Create a class wiki to discuss oil spills and clean-up options. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Disaster in the Gulf - Natural Resources Defense Council

Grades
7 to 12
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Go below the surface of the ocean to identify and understand the problem of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Use this resource to bring home the ...more
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Go below the surface of the ocean to identify and understand the problem of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Use this resource to bring home the fact that only a small amount of oil stays on the surface. Click on the question marks to find information about where the oil has gone and how organisms are affected. Be sure to scroll up and down in the image as there is a lot of information there. Find additional fact sheets, news accounts, and footage of the oil spill disaster and its effects.

tag(s): mexico (33), oil (40), oil spill (19)

In the Classroom

Have students view the interactive image to obtain basic information. Share the site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Share information learned from the site with others in class and discuss important points learned. Conduct additional research into effects of oil and the food chain(s) that are being affected. Determine the different types of populations of people affected as well by the disaster and write editorial letters of their viewpoint. Create a conventional or multimedia project that showcases students being these animals or people. Create a UtellStory, or Voki to share your information. Student groups can research additional information about specific organisms or problems to report back to the class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Tracking the Oil Spill in the Gulf - NY Times

Grades
6 to 12
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Follow the footprint of the Gulf Oil Spill 2010 in this interactive map. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present. The site ...more
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Follow the footprint of the Gulf Oil Spill 2010 in this interactive map. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present. The site provides details about mapping the spill, as well as the geographic range the spill has affected.

tag(s): oil (40), oil spill (19)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a springboard for discussions about the environmental impact of oil spills and, in a broader sense, of human activity in general. Use the map on the interactive whiteboard or projector to show students the physical location of the spill, as well as where the spill has had an immediate impact. For another view of the map, try this resource which allows you to superimpose the area effected onto your home town.

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Oil Spill Lesson Plans and Resources - NOAA

Grades
3 to 12
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Learn about the impact of oil spills. Use these lessons and information to compare the impact of spills past and present. The site provides details about cleaning up oil spills, ...more
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Learn about the impact of oil spills. Use these lessons and information to compare the impact of spills past and present. The site provides details about cleaning up oil spills, as well as the science of oil dispersal, how to clean animals, and more.

tag(s): disasters (40), oil (40), oil spill (19)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities on this site! Be sure to save this site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on. Students can select different aspects of oil spill cleanup and mitigation and play the role of experts in a mock blog post playing their role. Have students continue their role play by commenting on each other's posts.

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Prince William Sound: Detecting Changes 25 Years After the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill - NOAA

Grades
6 to 12
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Learn about the lasting impact of oil spills and how the environment does and does not recover, specifically from the Exxon-Valdez spill of 1989. Use this information to compare the...more
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Learn about the lasting impact of oil spills and how the environment does and does not recover, specifically from the Exxon-Valdez spill of 1989. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present. The site provides details about the impact the spill had on the sound and wildlife, as well as how recovery has progressed over the years.

tag(s): environment (323), oil (40), oil spill (19)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a springboard for discussions about the environmental impact of oil spills and, in a broader sense, of human activity in general. Share some of the text portions on a projectir or divide up the site among different student groups. Have student groups explore various aspects of oil spills and report to the class, perhaps sharing visuals from this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This tool allows for to narrating and adding text to a picture. Challenge students to find a photo of the oil spill, and then narrate the photo as if it were a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.

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Prince William's Oily Mess: A Tale of Recovery - NOAA

Grades
6 to 12
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"How does an ecosystem recover from a major one-time insult such as an oil spill?" This site provides details about the impact the Exxon-Valdez spill of 1989 on the environment, ...more
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"How does an ecosystem recover from a major one-time insult such as an oil spill?" This site provides details about the impact the Exxon-Valdez spill of 1989 on the environment, as well as how the recovery that has occurred in the area. Learn about the impact of oil spills, in general. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present.

tag(s): environment (323), oil (40), oil spill (19), sound (106)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a springboard for current events or environmental science discussions about the environmental impact of oil spills and, in a broader sense, of human activity in general. Have student groups explore various aspects of oil spills and report to the class, perhaps sharing visuals from this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. As a class or in groups, collect oil spill information on a class wiki, Padlet (can be an online bulletin board), reviewed here, or a good, old-fashioned bulletin board.

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Planet Forward - The George Washington University

Grades
7 to 12
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Use Planet Forward for first rate and up-to-date news and information about the environment. View the vast amount of resources on this site including: "In the Spotlight," "Viewpoints,"...more
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Use Planet Forward for first rate and up-to-date news and information about the environment. View the vast amount of resources on this site including: "In the Spotlight," "Viewpoints," and "Blog articles" among others. Use quizzes about environmental issues, widgets to place in blogs or sites, and videos about issues. Use the "Classroom Resources" page for great ideas, discussions starters, and guides. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (226), earth day (105), environment (323), oil (40), oil spill (19)

In the Classroom

Where do you start? There is so much information on this site that is continually updated and interesting! Use the "Facts, Myths, and What most Americans know about energy" page to initiate discussions and identify misconceptions for study. Create student groups in major environmental categories such as Air Pollution, Energy Use, and Consumer Issues to mine the site for information. Create blog posts about issues, and create students' own surveys to identify local misconceptions to compare to those discussed on the site. Encourage students to apply their findings and information locally by writing for a local or school newspaper or to be interviewed about student work. Students can create videos, wiki pages, or other multimedia products to produce content, dispel or challenge myths, and create understanding of issues. Conventional products such as display boards, posters, and other announcements can also be created. Have students create online posters using a tool such as DesignBold, reviewed here. Make every day Earth Day by tying class topics into ecology issues. Use the "Fast Facts about Energy" section to choose eye catching charts as a starter to engaging discussions in the classroom. Use the charts and ask students to brainstorm questions and make observations in groups prior to class discussions. Use the questions as a springboard for student research.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Bering Sea Oil Spill - Responses - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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This New York Times article discusses the efforts to assess the impact of the grounding of an oil-laden freighter off Unalaska island in 2004. ...more
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This New York Times article discusses the efforts to assess the impact of the grounding of an oil-laden freighter off Unalaska island in 2004.

tag(s): alaska (23), oil (40), oil spill (19), pollution (66)

In the Classroom

Use this article in a discussion of oil spills and other human caused disasters. Have students read the article "popcorn" style in class, with a student reading a paragraph and then randomly selecting another student to read another paragraph, and continuing passing along reading until the article is complete. Compare the effects of this oil spill to that of the 2010 BP oil spill, noting with students the dramatically different results when even more oil is spilled. This would be great for an earth sciences or government classroom.

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Wetlands - Missouri Botanical Garden

Grades
4 to 6
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The Missouri Botanical Garden has created a very nice elementary site about biomes and freshwater / saltwater environments. Because of the site design, you'll need to click the specific...more
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The Missouri Botanical Garden has created a very nice elementary site about biomes and freshwater / saltwater environments. Because of the site design, you'll need to click the specific area in which you are interested.

tag(s): biomes (139), oil (40), oil spill (19)

In the Classroom

Use the "shorelines" section of this site to understand the importance of ecosystems in coastal areas such the the Gulf of Mexico. This would be great background for a lesson on oil spills, specifically Exxon-Valdez or the BP spill of 2010. Use this site as a learning center or station, among other stations with more information about the specific spills being studied.

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Oil Spill in a Test Tube - Genentech, Inc.

Grades
9 to 12
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This is a lesson from Genentech's Access Excellence collection, which contains several hundred detailed lesson plans for high school level biology topics. Each lesson includes objectives,...more
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This is a lesson from Genentech's Access Excellence collection, which contains several hundred detailed lesson plans for high school level biology topics. Each lesson includes objectives, instructions, methodology, and outcomes.

tag(s): oil (40), oil spill (19)

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