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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

PBL Camp: PreK-Grade 2 (Week 1)

PBL Camp: PreK-Grade 2 (Week 1)

Related Tags: Project-Based Learning
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41 Replies 1341 Views
How will you make the oil spill relevant to your early elementary students? This is our brainstorming thread -- any and all ideas and thoughts welcome!

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Susan Hoffsis's picture

Amanda, The sweaters don't necessarily have to be for penguins. Present the idea to the kids and see what they come up with. Deborah, Your welcome.

Keerstin Harrington's picture

Maybe a way to integrate the clean-up if animals is to provide students with plastic bath toys covered in vegetable oil that has been dyed black. Students can then learn how to clean them using Dawn dish soap. Of course one must try this ahead of time to see if it would work, but is an idea.

Keerstin Harrington's picture

I am just reading the comments and I posted the same idea that you had for Science. Looks like we are on the same path as each other.

Keerstin Harrington's picture

This morning I was watching Fox News which has had something regarding the oil spill everyday. Today's broadcast was particularly interesting because it pertained to integrating the classroom w/ the oil spill. Patti Ramono was the spokeswoman for providing students with environmental friendly cartoons. I urge everyone to facebook the name planet bonehead which is her facebook site. This has some information. Also, I will be adding it to delicious.

Aleshia Blessen's picture
Aleshia Blessen
1st Grade Teacher from Boys Ranch, Texas

I like the ideas of doing oil experiments. I was also thinking of maybe having a large container of soil and one of water and pour oil into each and have the students compare a spill on land to a spill on water. In the area we live in we have some oil wells & refineries not too far away, so I thought I might looking into the possibility of taking a feild trip to visit an oil well and talk about oil as a natural resource.

Cindy Kerr's picture

Hi all,
I teach K-4 so I have posted some of these same ideas in the 3-5 grades section. I believe in making connections to regular academic content standards through visual art, writing, movement, music and drama. Like many of you, I plan to make this relevant to my students (K-4) through the study of water.

We will use a map to trace the path of water from our creeks to the Ohio River, on to the Mississippi and to the Gulf. We can then ask, What if the water flow turned and the Gulf water and oil spill landed on the banks of our local Olentangy River?

We can add some oil to the water we collect from the river. We can look at the water with our eyes and with microscopes. Compare and contrast.

We can talk about viscosity of oil and water. Which would be better for fish to swim in? What happens to birds that are covered in oil? I liked the activity some of you suggested in which the students would clean the stuffed birds, including some feathers, with dish soap.

We will make some posters that we can hang in our school and around the city demonstrating student awareness of the dangerous outcomes of water pollution.

I am searching for some good music that will help the students get a feeling for water and ocean life. If anyone has some suggestions, I would love to know about them. I did get a CD with songs about the oceans, that are written to well-known tunes.

First grade students study animals, write a report about animals and visit the zoo. They make small,individual tableaus. It might be interesting this year to also have the students collaborate and make a Gulf ecosystem tableau before and after the oil spill.

We have a microscope in our room that displays the slide image on a computer. Students can observe and draw the microscopic organisms in clean and polluted water. We can post the drawings and discuss the differences and why they are different.

We will make marbled paper by dropping diluted oil paint onto a pool of water in a shallow tray. Stir with a fork or comb. Lightly lay a sheet of paper on top of the color. The paper will absorb the floating color. Lay to dry. (This can also be done using cooking oil and mixing with liquid watercolor). To help make connections we can use blue and green for the water and black/red/brown for the oil. We can use the paper to write a poem about the water pollution.

We will probably talk about viscosity (oil vs water) , make viscosity wands and wonder which is easier for animal and plant life to swim or absorb food in and why; immiscible and miscible liquids (oil on bird feathers not washing off with water).
I found several simple activities that would engage young students and start them thinking about the issues in Super Science Concoctions: 50 Mysterious Mixtures for Fabulous Fun by Jill Frankel Houser.(1997). Williamson Publishing Co. ISBN 1-885593-02-3

Thanks for your comments
Cindy

Erika Gonzalez's picture

[quote]We will make marbled paper by dropping diluted oil paint onto a pool of water in a shallow tray. Stir with a fork or comb. Lightly lay a sheet of paper on top of the color. The paper will absorb the floating color. Lay to dry. (This can also be done using cooking oil and mixing with liquid watercolor). To help make connections we can use blue and green for the water and black/red/brown for the oil. We can use the paper to write a poem about the water pollution.

We will probably talk about viscosity (oil vs water) , make viscosity wands and wonder which is easier for animal and plant life to swim or absorb food in and why; immiscible and miscible liquids (oil on bird feathers not washing off with water).

Cindy[/quote]

Cindy,
That sounds really cool. I'd like to know more about how you make the oil paintings and how you would color the oil and water different colors. Also, what are viscosity wands?
Thanks for your ideas!

I'd like to add to the thoughts about oil and water flow, that it might be interesting to talk about wind as well. Why doesn't the oil stay in one place? What happens to trash and other types of pollution that are in the water?

My kids got really fired up about how plastic bags kill sea turtles and now will go out of their way anywhere they are, city or mountains, to stop and pick up plastic bag trash.

Erika

Sharon Trent's picture

I teach kindergarten and would like to include air and water pressure to help explain the issue of the intense oil pressure under water.

Attach a garden hose to an outdoor faucet. Observe the constant flow of water. Attach a nozzle and demonstrate the water flow controlled by the nozzle. Notice the intense water pressure as the nozzle is first turned on and observe the moderated pressure as the flow continues. We can turn off the water at the faucet but the oil cannot be turned off. Take off the nozzle and try to stop the water by covering up the opening with different materials.

Use an inner tube from a bicycle tire and a bicycle pump to demonstrate the necessity of air pressure in tires. Pump appropriate pressure in the inner tube. Continue to pump until the tube explodes.

Air and water pressure are useful as long as we can control the pressure. Uncontrolled and unexpected oil pressure caused a huge problem.

Sharon Trent's picture

Thanks Laura,

I would appreciate any other ideas re: pressure. Young children seem respond and engage in new learning when we help them make a connection with the familiar.Many of the oil activities make that connection. The wiki driving question "Whose mess is this?" could help bring the oil spill home in a very meaningful way.

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