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.

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

 

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energy4me - energy4me

Grades
1 to 12
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Energy4me offers a large variety of resources for teaching and learning about oil and energy. Click on the little book titled About Energy and Sustainability to find an interactive...more
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Energy4me offers a large variety of resources for teaching and learning about oil and energy. Click on the little book titled About Energy and Sustainability to find an interactive about those topics. Clicking on the Into the Classroom book takes you to download-able lesson plans and more. Lesson plans are for all grade levels, in several languages, and all are correlated to US National Science Education Standards. Be sure to explore this site to find additional classroom resources, videos, and presentation materials. Choose from several interactives to test your energy IQ.

tag(s): careers (129), energy (197), engineering (118), fossil fuels (18), oil (46), STEM (123)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans (and interactives, of course). Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. Share videos from the site as part of your career unit. Be sure to provide a link to interactives on classroom computers and your class web page for students to explore on their own.
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If It Were My Home - Disasters - Andy Lintner

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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 (39), floods (6), oil spill (21)

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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Fort McMoney - David Dufresne

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10 to 12
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Fort McMoney is a web video and strategy simulation based on the Fort McMurray oil sands development in Alberta, Canada. Watch the trailer for background information on the project...more
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Fort McMoney is a web video and strategy simulation based on the Fort McMurray oil sands development in Alberta, Canada. Watch the trailer for background information on the project before playing the game. Play three rounds with players from around the globe over a period of four weeks to reimagine Fort McMurray making strategic financial and environmental decisions. Be sure to scroll completely down the page to view and understand all instructions before beginning play. Also, each of the three episodes contains a trailer setting up the episode. Be sure to preview before sharing with less mature students, as the trailer for episode one contains drinking and party scenes that may not be appropriate for classroom viewing.

tag(s): canada (30), environment (317), oil (46)

In the Classroom

Explore and experiment with the simulation so you understand it or have a small team of students preview it to explain it to the class. Set up games for use on classroom computers to avoid students viewing the trailer for episode one. View the trailer for episode two together on your interactive whiteboard to introduce the activities to your class. Use the simulation of Fort McMoney as an ongoing classroom project while studying the environmental impact of government and business decisions. Create several groups in your class to participate and compare results of the different interactives. Have students create maps using Animaps (reviewed here) with locations facing important impact on the environment. Students can add text, images, and location stops!
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Fracking Across the United States - Earth Justice Org.

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6 to 12
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View this interactive Google map to discover where "fraccidents" have occurred and a description of what happened. A "fraccident" is when something goes wrong at a fracking site. Hydraulic...more
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View this interactive Google map to discover where "fraccidents" have occurred and a description of what happened. A "fraccident" is when something goes wrong at a fracking site. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" is drilling to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas. Fracking is a controversial technology, and this site is one organization's efforts to slow the pace of industrial gas development. So you will notice some bias. Find out if anything like this has happened near you. At the bottom of the page is a video, "Finding Their Way." It is about a Williamsport, PA couple who developed strategies to stop industrial gas development in Rider Park, land consisting of forests, rivers, and fields. The video also gives statistics about how quickly fracking wells were built in Pennsylvania from 2007 - 2010.

tag(s): disasters (39), energy (197), environment (317), geology (81), natural resources (59), oil (46), resources (111)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector during a study of fossil fuels, geology, or energy and government policy. Show students an overview of the interactive map and the states listed below it. Have partners select a state, click on the skull and crossbones, and read about the "fraccidents" that have happened. Have students record the state and the facts about the "fraccident" using an online bulletin board and stickies such as Lino reviewed here. At this point, have students research the positive side of fracking and/or alternative versions of what happened in this "fraccident." Students could then write argument/persuasive papers. Math students could determine the frequency of accidents from fracking over the years and predict what might happen in the states targeted for fracking in the future (listed below the map). Students could view the video at the bottom of the page and discuss the steps taken to stop fracking in Williamsport, PA.
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Smithsonian: Energy Innovation - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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Explore the leading U.S. states in the production of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." There are three parts to this interactive map. Major Shale Plays shows where...more
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Explore the leading U.S. states in the production of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." There are three parts to this interactive map. Major Shale Plays shows where extraction is considered both technically possible and profitable. In State by State Comparison, simply click on each state to show a chart of production rates and reserves. Where is Fracking Happening? provides a legend displaying Shale gas wells and Plays and Basins. Click on the map to zoom in. The accompanying article provides information about technology, earthquakes, and the liquids used in fracking.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): energy (197), environment (317), geology (81), natural resources (59), oil (46), resources (111)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site with an interactive whiteboard or projector and big screen. View together as a class to show students how the interactive map works. Have pairs of students go through the interactive maps and write down key phrases for information they learn. Then have the pairs create a word cloud of the important terms learned from this site using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here. This site could be used in a unit on contemporary environmental issues or energy. Use it for background research for a class debate on fracking. It would also provide evidence for a Common Core-style writing piece developing an argument and supporting evidence. In a government or civics class, this information could be part of a class discussion on how government policies can affect the environment.

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Extracting Natural Gas From Rock - New York Times

Grades
5 to 12
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Learn the steps in extracting natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" with this interactive. The platform shows each step in drilling to fracture shale rocks to release...more
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Learn the steps in extracting natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" with this interactive. The platform shows each step in drilling to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas. On the left side of many of the frames are explanations of problems that may occur in that step in the process.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): energy (197), environment (317), geology (81), natural resources (59), oil (46), resources (111)

In the Classroom

Use this resource in science, current events, government or civics classes when studying environmental issues or for issues about regulation. Before sharing this interactive article with students, identify concepts that need an explanation in class. Have students create a four square chart (fold paper "hamburger" style) and list what they know about fracking in one square. Students then explore this interactive to determine whether their statements are correct or false. In the square next to their brainstorm, have students correct their misunderstandings. In the third square, they can list the possible problems with each step. Use ProConIt, reviewed here, and search for fracking debates. In the fourth square have students record the "pros" for fracking in the ProConIt debates. Students in current events and language arts classes can then write opinion pieces or argument and persuasive papers. Read the site to become informed about this controversial topic as it may become a political issue in upcoming elections in some locations. For younger students, have pairs go through the interactive sections and write down key phrases for information they learn. Then have the pairs create a word cloud of the important terms learned from this site using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here, Tagxedo, reviewed here, or WordItOut, reviewed here.
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Energy Realities - Energy Realities

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6 to 12
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Explore a collection of videos and infographic resources about energy and energy related issues. This site uses National Geographic maps and is sponsored by Slate, New Scientist, The...more
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Explore a collection of videos and infographic resources about energy and energy related issues. This site uses National Geographic maps and is sponsored by Slate, New Scientist, The Economist Group, and Statoil, an oil and gas company. Access a visual guide to global energy needs. Learn about the story of energy use, methods of production, and the focus on sustainability of our planet.

tag(s): coal (14), energy (197), natural resources (59), nuclear energy (24), oil (46), population (60), resources (111)

In the Classroom

Begin the discussion of energy use and production by asking students to list everything they know about coal, oil, and natural gas. Have students list what they know about renewable resources. Students can research this site to determine whether their statements are correct or false and report back to the class about their misunderstandings. Be sure to identify concepts that need to be expanded upon in the classroom. Follow with conservation methods, your own energy use as compared to other countries, and more energy related topics. Use the Infographics as comparison. For example, view a population density map compared to an energy use map for any kind of insights or correlations. Be sure to check out new content such as the video on "Carbon capture and Storage" for greater understanding of newsworthy topics.

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Adventures in Energy - American Petroleum Institute

Grades
4 to 8
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Take an interactive look at energy exploration, production, and delivery at Adventures in Energy. Topics include explanations of oil and gas, the process from exploration and...more
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Take an interactive look at energy exploration, production, and delivery at Adventures in Energy. Topics include explanations of oil and gas, the process from exploration and refining, and all the way to delivery of the finished product (energy). Each topic contains images, short explanations, and animated videos demonstrating content. Be sure to view the fact or fiction questions posed to the left of the screen for each of the different categories. Although the site does not make it obvious, this resource was created by the American Petroleum Institute. The information supplied may therefore offer a particular slant, though the basics on energy are quite accurate.

tag(s): careers (129), energy (197), oil (46), transportation (40)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. View together as a class to see easy to understand explanations of the process of exploring and providing oil and gas to communities. Have students watch information on their own and then create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Have cooperative learning groups create online books about the energy process using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Use this site as part of your career unit and focus in on the portion of the site explaining the job of geologists. For a powerful critical thinking lesson, challenge students (especially your brightest ones) to look for alternative angles on the information here. Would environmentalists present it in the same way? Can you find any current news articles that reveal more than is said here? Which information, if any, might be open to debate?
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STEM Curriculum - Dayton Regional - Dayton Regional STEM Center

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K to 12
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The Dayton Regional STEM Center offers lessons, units, and curriculum materials in STEM subjects for grades K-12. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math resources are abundant at...more
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The Dayton Regional STEM Center offers lessons, units, and curriculum materials in STEM subjects for grades K-12. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math resources are abundant at this center for hands-on STEM! Primarily it is a curriculum resource for teaching. Search by grade level, subject, or industry. There are captivating hook videos about power and propulsion, sensors, manufacturing, humans and medicine, and air vehicles. Lesson ideas are complete and well thought out. Some have downloadable activities, some are video clips, some are tangible hands on activities, but all are thought provoking. If your district blocks YouTube, then the video clips may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): aircraft (24), atmosphere (26), aviation (40), data (149), energy (197), engineering (118), equations (155), functions (70), geometric shapes (159), magnetism (35), measurement (163), number sense (97), oil (46), operations (126), ratios (52), robotics (24), scientific method (64), solar energy (38), space (206), statistics (122), STEM (123), teaching strategies (25), water (130)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site as a resource for STEM lessons in your classroom. Use this site as a starting point for individual or group projects or differentiating lessons in your classroom. Search this site for some new ideas to implement in your classroom. Share the Student tab on your class website for students to explore several "kid friendly" topic such as Fish-y Gardening, Pirate Race, Slime Time, Engineer Girl, Build a Bot, and more. Students who complete one of the "kid friendly" projects at home could develop a presentation using a tool like Zoho Show (similar to PowerPoint, but easier and free) - reviewed here), or a multimedia presentation to share with the class. For tools and ideas about creating multimedia presentations see one of many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
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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 (119), microorganisms (14), oil (46), oil spill (21), organisms (21), slides (60), space (206)

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.
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World without Oil - Ken Eklund

Grades
4 to 10
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What would happen of the world ran out of oil? Players simulated that reality through this innovative game. Though the activity is officially over, for the thirty-two days of play,...more
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What would happen of the world ran out of oil? Players simulated that reality through this innovative game. Though the activity is officially over, for the thirty-two days of play, over fifteen hundred stories of reaction to a massive decline in available oil and their reactions were recorded. Each story has been archived. Use the Time Machine to go to any of these weeks. Official stories for that week are the headline. Read stories by players in the blocks to the left. Click on a story block to go to the story. Take Gretchen's Quick Tour and experience the activity as one of the participant's did. Be sure to check out the Lesson Plans for Teachers.

tag(s): climate change (64), critical thinking (92), environment (317), oil (46)

In the Classroom

This is a massively collaborative imagining of the first thirty-two weeks of a global oil crisis. Though a game, the research shows that most of the players have continued the habits they developed in this game into their real life. Follow the Quick Tour to identify the parts of the game and have students peruse and report on player stories. Share with the class and brainstorm which stories are apt to occur in their household or community. Research ways to decrease our personal use of oil and other environmental or personal reasons to do so. Create conventional or blog writing about their personal opinions to the possibility of a world without oil and what students can personally change. Be sure to identify the many things that petroleum makes that is used in our lives.

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Information is Beautiful - David McCandless

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5 to 12
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Want to view data and make connections in visual form? Find interesting infographics to make connections between related concepts. The general subject areas range from health to government...more
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Want to view data and make connections in visual form? Find interesting infographics to make connections between related concepts. The general subject areas range from health to government to economics to science and more. Click on 'Visualizations" to view a variety of different graphics from many different topic areas: The Billion Dollar-o-Gram, When Sea Levels Attack, Left vs. Right (US), Caffeine and Calories, and countless others. Click on the link below to view the actual data that was used to make the graphic. View comments even further below.

Keep in mind that many commenters are very spirited in their discussions! Preview the comments before sharing with your class.

tag(s): data (149), infographics (42), oil (46), oil spill (21), visualizations (14)

In the Classroom

Use the site to teach data and the display of data graphically. Allow groups of students to choose a graphic and report to the class on how the data was made more meaningful using the graphics that were chosen. You may also want to share this link as a research tool for debates or presentations on science or social studies topics. Discuss the science, history, or math behind the data collected. Discuss other information and ways of presenting the information in order to create a more interesting graphic. Provide students with options to share their findings in a multimedia presentation. Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Challenge students to create a video and share using a site such as SchoolTube, reviewed here. OR have cooperative learning groups narrate a picture using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. When using data in class, discuss what makes the graphic visually appealing. Consider using data (or collecting your own) to create class graphics that show the data.
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Layers of Life - Gulf Life Interactive - National Geographic

Grades
6 to 9
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The "Layers of Life" interactive from the fantastic folks at National Geographic offers a detailed, informative tour of the Gulf of Mexico's ecosystems, the organisms that thrive there,...more
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The "Layers of Life" interactive from the fantastic folks at National Geographic offers a detailed, informative tour of the Gulf of Mexico's ecosystems, the organisms that thrive there, and the conditions that need to be maintained for the health of this environment. This interactive has layers of information that can be clicked through easily. The small navigational square in the bottom left corner allows you to click through the different zones of the ecosystem with ease.

tag(s): biomes (116), diversity (36), environment (317), oil (46), oil spill (21), water (130)

In the Classroom

To teach about the zones of the ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico, have students form four groups and create a summary of the features and creatures of that zone. This will reduce the time necessary to share all of the information in class. Turn the activity into a jigsaw by having the student teams number themselves and form new groups of numbers so that all information is shared to all students. While students are sharing information, post questions about the oil spill impact on the ecosystem. Examples would be "Why would oil being introduced into this unique zone of the ecosystem cause a problem for organisms that live in this area?" or "How could the oil from the spill cause a chain reaction for biotic and abiotic components of the environment?" Encourage students to discuss within their groups the questions and then have discussion with the whole class where the groups share ideas. Create a class wiki to discuss the questions and answers. Learn more about wikis at the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
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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 (317), hurricanes (35), louisiana (11), oil (46), oil spill (21)

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 (317), oil (46), oil spill (21)

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 (317), oil (46), oil spill (21)

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 (34), oil (46), oil spill (21)

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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Oil Spill Crisis Map

Grades
3 to 12
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Learn about the impact of oil spills, specifically the BP spill of 2010. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present. The site ...more
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Learn about the impact of oil spills, specifically the BP spill of 2010. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present. The site provides details about the land, animals and human health that have been negatively affected by the spill - all in map form.

tag(s): oil (46), oil spill (21)

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. Have student groups explore various aspects of the map, and report back to the class how the environment, wildlife, and humans in the area were affected. Have students use a tool such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place.

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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 (46), oil spill (21)

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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