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In this short podcast, Terry Shiverdecker and Jessica Fries-Gaither discuss how middle school teachers can use an Earth science systems approach to incorporate oil spill activities into their instruction.

Oil Spill Lessons, Activities, and Information

For lessons, activities, and information that focus on the environmental impact of the oil spill, try:

Monsters of the Deep. Learn about cold-seep communities, and think about how the oil spill might be impacting them.

The Effects of Oil on Wildlife. Read about the many ways oil impacts wildlife.

Oil and Water Don't Mix . . . or Do They? Simulate the effect of oil on various animals.

Sediment Penetration Exercise. Investigate how the size of sand and rock particles affects oil penetration.

For lessons, activities, and information that focus on cleanup and remediation, try:

Oil Spill (ORC #3153). Evaluate the effectiveness of various absorbent products.

Experiment Demonstrating Oil Bioremediation. See how oil can be broken down by bacteria.

Goo-Be-Gone: Cleaning Up Oil Spills. Test the absorptivity of different materials (sorbents) to discover which ones are best at removing oil from water.

For lessons, activities, and information that focus on oil spills in general, try:

What Happens When an Oil Spill Occurs? Interact with the animations in this slide show about oil spills.

What's the Story on Oil Spills? Read about how spills happen and how we respond to the problem.

What Happens to Spilled Oil? Read about the many processes involved in an oil spill.

Prince William's Oily Mess: A Tale of Recovery. Learn how Prince William Sound has recovered from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

For lessons, activities, and information that focus on oceans, currents, and tides, try:

Water on the Move. Explore how water density influences ocean currents.

Global Winds and Ocean Currents. Demonstrate how wind influences ocean currents.

Tides and Currents (ORC #8112). Learn about currents and tides, and access oceanographic and meteorological data (historical and real time), predictions, and "nowcasts" and forecasts.

Tides Online (ORC #8111). Examine up-to-date tide data by state or region.

National Oceanographic Data Center (ORC #8092). Access global oceanographic and coastal data, products, and information.

Ocean Explorer: Chemosynthetic Life in the Gulf of Mexico. Explore Gulf currents, geology, and ecosystems.

Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet (ORC #6543). Play the role of an oceanographer, and describe the state of our world's oceans, explain the significance of healthy oceans for a healthy planet, and make suggestions for solving environmental problems in the watery part of our world.

The Gulf Stream Voyage (ORC #3282). Use real-time data and primary source materials to discover the science and history of the Gulf Stream.

If you are using an Earth systems approach as described in the podcast, then you will also want lessons, activities, and information that focus on hurricanes; in that case, try:

National Hurricane Center. Learn about hurricanes, and stay up-to-date on the latest hurricane information.

Handle a Hurricane! Students Become Mayors (ORC #839). Play the role of mayor as you analyze data and decide how to protect the city's citizens and the city.

Hurricane Field Trip (ORC #9345). Take a virtual field trip to learn what a hurricane is and how and where it is formed.

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How Big Is the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill? See exactly where the oil spill is located in the Gulf of Mexico, and compare the size of the spill to the size of a city you are familiar with.

Tracking the Oil Spill in the Gulf. Watch how the oil has spread from the point of origin to the coasts.

Gulf Oil Spill: Ecological Effects. Listen to Ira Flatow and Nancy Rabalais discuss the oil's potential effects on the Gulf ecosystems.

Oil in the Ocean. Watch a video about oil spills and their impact on the ocean ecosystem.

Diving Deeper: Oil Spill Response. Listen to this podcast about oil spills and how NOAA responds.

Ocean Currents. Watch this video for in-depth information about ocean currents.

Tides. Watch this video to learn more about tides.

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Deepwater Horizon Response. Stay current with the latest information from the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command.

Deepwater Horizon Response: Multimedia. Access photographs, video, and audio releases from the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command.

Frequently Asked Oil Spill Questions. Brush up on oil spill basics.

Dispersants: A Guided Tour. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about dispersants.

How to Talk to Kids About the Gulf Oil Spill. Get some tips on talking with students about environmental emergencies.