teacher notes for oil spill project

voraciousdrabSoftware and s/w Development

Dec 14, 2013 (5 years and 4 months ago)




Introduce Project

read through guidelines together and get into groups

w the
“crude oil.”
Students will get 30 mL of the “crude oil” per trial (to make

add a few

of cocoa powder to 30 mL of vegetable oil in a 50 mL beaker)

Show materials

Day One to

see what they are working with

Al pan and the crude oil.

Materials students
have thought of in the past are listed below, by collection method
. I will
NOT suggest
ideas; however, this may help us “think ahead” of the kids as to what they might
bring. I will provide eye droppers if they ask.

Only the smartest ones figure out that if their
method involves

materials (i.e. wash cloth) as opposed to materials th
at must be
disposed of, they will be much more successful!


oil: spoon
, toy shovel

FILTER oil: kitchen sifter, strainer, coffee filters, fish net

SUCK UP oil: eye droppers, turkey baster

ABSORB oil: cotton balls, pieces of sponge, cut up
panty hose, paper towels, popcorn,
gauze/bandage pads, powder, diapers, tampons, wood chips, Grease monkey cloths, kitty litter,
wash cloth


dish detergent, laundry detergent


Students will need access to the desktop
computers these days to type their results. Encourage
them to have one student be in charge in recording the data as requested. The more details the

Materials we must provide for the lab:

“crude oil” pre
楮‵〠ii⁢ ake牳

vegetable oil mixed with
cocoa powder)

(6) aluminum pans

soap/sponges at sinks

250 mL beakers (or
various sizes) for
finding volume

oily waste water

balance for

of oily waste

plastic grocery bags to
collect solid, oiled

When they add the oil, remind them to pour oil carefully (and close to) the surface of the water,
o that is floats on the surface
(if it all goes to the bottom the task will be much harder!)

Every time they create a new “spill” they must wash their Al pan

out thoroughly with soap and
water. They must be gentle with the pans as this is the ONLY one they get.

Remind groups that they will have no more than 2 days (Days Two and Three) to experiment.
Most groups need both days; any groups that finish early can clean up their data table, print and
turn in at the end of Day Three.


Materials we will need:

have crude oil pre
made for each team (30 mL),

(+ some
empty glassware to tare balance); in addition to the materials the groups already have, give a 50
or 100 mL graduated cylinder as well for finding exact volumes of oily waste.

Start class
right away w
ith students setting up a spill:

Start all groups with the same volume of oil for

the time trial

Wait for my start!

Students have 10 MINUTES to clean
up the spill

ALL waste materials (oil
covered solids and volumes of oily liquid) must be c
and saved!

When they finish, the class will visit each lab station.
Each team should explain what method(s)
they used and why.
We will take the mass and/or volume of the oily waste (and record in data
table) and evaluate how m
uch of the oil was r
emoved as a class.

Students are responsible for writing up their own evaluation of the clean
up, collected next

This project is a really nice comparison to how scientists problem solve in the field. As
was the case with Gulf Oil Spill, they did n
ot have a solution already created, they had to
make one as they went. By keeping records of their findings along the way, they are able
to evaluate the effectiveness of methods used in this spill to create protocol for future oil
spills. Many times trial
and error is necessary. Only when they can repeat a method
(multiple trials) and receive consistent results do they know they have a method they can
work with.