Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cleaning Up an Oil Spill

Continuing in our Conserving Resources chapter, today we studied water pollution (surface water, ocean water, and groundwater). To illustrate the effects of pollution in ocean water, the students got their own oil spills to clean up using a variety of methods and resources. Students could choose from spoons, sand, dish detergent, and cotton balls to help clean up their oil spills. Most students tried a combination.
First, they filled bowls with water and I added vegetable oil to simulate an oil spill.

Then, they wrote their lab reports to reflect the steps that they took to clean up the oil. Everyone tried different methods, but they really liked using the cotton balls and sand.

In the end, I think only one or two students cleaned most of their oil out of the water. The best method was a pretty simple one - using spoons to separate and scoop out the oil. For homework, they are comparing their methods to the methods used to clean the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Tomorrow is Arbor Day! We're going to design a community forest and discuss the importance of tree diversity. Then we'll take a walk around the neighborhood and check out our own tree diversity!

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