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Gulf Oil Spill

Jason Flom 5th grade teacher in Tallahassee, FL

The spill in the gulf (unfortunately) offers a number of learning opportunities and investigative projects.

What are you doing in your classroom to teach about the oil spill in the Gulf?

What resources have you found to be most useful for teachers, parents, and students to help them learn about it?

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5th grade teacher in Tallahassee, FL

Some resources to get started

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1. This Oil Spill in a Graph from Infrastructurist provides some background & perspective:

2. NOAA's response and resources:

3. NY Times' tracking map they update daily:

4. NY Times' Graph illustrating the Spill's Effects Underwater:

5. Great Lesson plan on cleaning up oil spills (I did this with my students and they really enjoyed it):

5th grade teacher in Tallahassee, FL

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Here is an interesting way to explore some of the news from the past year of "Florida Off Shore Oil" by Seth Platt.

Director, Office of Environmental Education, FL DEP

Hi Jason, Thanks for sharing

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Hi Jason,

Thanks for sharing these links, I've been getting an increasing number of requests for educational materials/resources related to the oil spill. I will share some of these links you've identified.


Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

Gulf Oil Spill - How your classrooms can get involved

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Here's a link to a local NBC station that documented how Hurst Middle school students "Wetland Watchers" are getting involved with the Gulf oil spill.

Also, here's some background on Hurst Middle School and their service-learning program.

Senior Manager of Video Programming, Production, & Curation at Edutopia

Oil Spill Lessons

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Thanks for sharing that NBC video, Elana - Barry and his kids are absolutely heroes in my book. Here's a great list of links to students on the front lines of environmental defense.

We also published an article when an oil spill happened in the San Francisco Bay in 2007: Unplanned Lesson: An Outdoor Project Reacts to Oil Spill.

And finally, a link to a NatGeo lesson plan for 3rd - 5th graders on cleaning up wildlife after oil spills, similar to what you see Barry and his kids doing in the NBC video.

You can find even more in this round-up of oil spill resources from Associated Press.

Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

Opportunity to help with the Gulf Oil Spill

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I came across this email from a list serve that I am on and thought it was worth posting it out to our community. Although they're looking for those with technical expertise (perhaps create an after school club on Drupal!) , I'm sure if you don't have those specific skill sets, there will be ways to get involved:

I am looking for volunteer collaborators to help update to be a clearinghouse for ways for people to find training and work cleaning up the gulf oil spill. (Read the backstory at the bottom of this message for how and why I came to this project last night.)

Please let me know if you or someone you know have some web dev or design savvy you can lend to the project. I'm thinking a Drupal site and blog could do it, though it could get more involved. I have the content creation/editing side of things pretty much covered, and the marketing and advocacy side of things are pretty clear to start.

The site would have three areas:
1. Cleanupjobs Clearinghouse
Similar to the site's functionality now - be a central place for information about how to help and get training and work cleaning up the coastline and wildlife. List places to get free training, list cleanup jobs available, post availability, link to other resources.

2. Advocacy
Make it possible for people to tell Washington, state representatives, and BP to make this a large-scale funded work program. Make the training free for anyone who wants to help. Make sure the workers get paid a living wage and adequate safety precautions and health care. Post some petitions, Facebook pages, Meetups, and other ways to contact representatives and get involved.

3. Blog and social media, and other ways to help
Updates about the cleanup. For people that can't physically get down there to help, list all of the ways they can help from home. Point to any and all organizations that are raising money for this issue. Facebook and other social media, Kickstarter (if necessary, I think this will be a largely volunteer effort), etc.

So if you are a developer or designer and can lend a hand to get this site updated, please get in touch ASAP! Email me: or call (415)533-5797. Thanks!

Backstory: last night I had an episode of bad news overload (again), especially about the oil spill. I was so sad and frustrated, I tried to go to sleep, but couldn't stop feeling horrified by's picures of oiled birds, and the staggering lack of and unpaid, ineffectively managed cleanup crews. And if you're on the Atlantic coast, it could be coming your way soon and it will likely be trouble for a generation or more. At the same time, there scores of people unemployed in this country, and as of today it's not getting better. (Yes I've been reading Huff Post too much lately.)

Going over and over this again in my head, needing to do something, I got up and looked up what it would take for me to actually go down there myself to volunteer to help, get hazmat training, etc. This is clearly not my expertise, and it's obviously not that easy to do cleanup, for environment or for wildlife. To really do beach/marsh cleanup safely, you need a 40-hour hazmat certification, something called HAZWOPER. This seems to cost at least $200 in most places, though some places it is being offer for free for the cleanup. I imagine training is also necessary for animal rescue.

So then I thought - why not start a program to provide free training and living-wage jobs to people who want to go clean up in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and beyond? And force BP to pay for it? A corporate-funded public works program if you will. I know there are a myriad of management issues involved, but I think it could be done.

Paid brown jobs (like a green job, only dirtier). I immediately thought of would be a good URL. But is better. I went to the URL and saw that it was used as a site to help people find work doing Katrina response! I contacted the owner, Paul Miller, and he replied right away as he wants to update the site for the spill response but is not available to do so now. As you can see at the site, it could use an updating to a more modern platform, design, etc. He had good success with it during Katrina, but this is a much larger effort and needs a much more comprehensive site (I also now own

Thanks for reading. I know this is arriving in many of your inboxes well after the workday on Friday, but I would appreciate any offers, forwards, leads, ideas, etc. Please especially feel free to let me know if you think this is crazed or misinformed. But I just have to do something and I thought this would put my skills and that of the nptech community here to good use.

Please let me know ASAP if you or someone you know can help. Please feel free to forward!

Many thanks,

Camron Assadi
twit: @teiwaz

mom & former exec producer

Science for Citizens

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This is a great site, and while you won't find lesson ideas, I found a "challenge" from InnoCentive they are promoting:

InnoCentive is offering a prize for ideas to help solve this environmental crisis. Deadline is June 30th.

Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

800,000 gallons/day of oil leaking into the ocean!

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Just heard this horrible fact on the gulf's current oil crisis.

If we can't do anything about this physically now, we need to educate our future generation to make sure something like this never happens again. Are any of you using this crisis to educate your classes?

Thanks for listening -- just got very fired up about this catastrophic event.

Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

50 Resources To Educate About Oil Spills

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Great resource that I just came across via Twitter:

Here's an excerpt:
"The oil spill is all over the news (for good reason), social media, and pretty much every other communication channel. It’s important to inform students what is going on. What’s a teacher to do? EduDemic has developed this helpful list of 50 resources for teachers, students, and pretty much anyone looking to learn more about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico."

Hi, i used to be a chemist on

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Hi, i used to be a chemist on drilling rigs before I began teaching and I have worked offshore a couple of times. I did a research project dealing with the spill and was able to add real world experience to the project. It was very engaging for the students and they were excited when they hear and a saw it on the news.

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