Oil Spill Simulation (view)

Units included with this Open Author resource:

Jaime Hitz
PA.Math.CC.2.1.4.B.2, PA.SCI.3.3.12.A8, PA.SCI.3.3.B.A8, PA.SCI.3.3.PK.A7
Teacher Resource
PASTEM, Oil Spill, Oil Spill and Wildlife, Budget, Subtract, Environment
CCSS.Math.Content.4.NBT.B.4, NGSS.3.5.ETS1.1
Activity Sheet
Scaffolded Activity Guide
Building Background Knowledge Videos


Students will have the opportunity to work in groups and investigate the effects of an “oil spill” in a water body. In a simulated “ocean” (a pan of water), students will drop a small amount of oil into the water and see the effects and interaction. In an introduction to the workshop, students discuss sources of pollution and oil contamination in water bodies – from point sources (tanker spills) and non-point sources (vehicle run-off). A brief discussion on preventing and cleaning up oil contamination will lead into the activity, in which the students will use a variety of materials to see what method works best for recovering the most oil from the water. Students will develop a proposal explaining which materials and procedures work best for cleaning up an oil spill. Students will also create a presentation to share their proposal.