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PBL Camp: Grades 9-12 (Week 1)

PBL Camp: Grades 9-12 (Week 1)

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How will you make the oil spill relevant to your students? This is our brainstorming thread. Any and all ideas and thoughts welcome!

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Audra Ridikas's picture
Audra Ridikas
High School LOTE in Upstate New York

I think that from a LOTE standpoint students can take any of the above and make it bilingual. From something simple as introducing language specific terminology to creating public service announcements in the target language that voice their opinions on the effects of the disaster.

Michelle Sumner's picture

marydent and Paul Allison, you got me thinking....this is a great perspective to go at it with Special Ed students making it applicable to their level. I also have seen this great site to VISUALIZE the oil spill in your area (already added to Delicious tag pbl_camp) http://www.ifitwasmyhome.com/ . You can either enter your city or move the spill anywhere on the map. I checked and its real time. I would like to incorporate this into my project as I think it makes it more real.

Elizabeth Davidson's picture
Elizabeth Davidson
High School Math Teacher

Bobbi - I love the idea of designing an organic garden, as I have talked in the past to one of the other teachers who is an avid gardener about staring a garden. Piggy-backing on the garden idea, I have heard of a chef being brought in to lecture and cook a meal for the students, and the students selling some of the vegetables at a farmer's market.

In watching a CNN presentation about the oil spill, they stated that many of the "facts" about the oil spill were buried or non-existant in the government website, such as:

1) Number of people killed
2) Number of animals and of what type killed
3) Number of animals saved
3) An accurate estimation of how many gallons per day were being released?


These are numbers, and the students could find the numbers and/or how they are calculated, and create their own website.

denise Oppenhagen's picture

I have been wanting to create an "oil" for my physical science students and couldn't figure out what to use. Thank you for posting this. Do you have a recipe yet or just ingredients? I'm hoping to have my students get density, separation of mixtures, and perhaps evaporation if I can.

DebElmoRoom3049's picture
Seconday Educator - Career Technical Education: Business and Marketing

From the Business and Marketing perspective, I would use this as a baseline to see how it has impacted the economy (local, statewide, and global). The students would select any industry from the affected states (Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, etc.) to find the impact it has had on their businesses, community and environment. List the stakeholders involved and also include short and long term implications. Show the differences of their revenue before and after the oil spill (annual economic or total economic impact).

Some other leading research questions and suggestions...
* What are the ethic implications of the oil spill? BPs, state and federal government, Transocean Ltd.
* What are BPs code of conduct and ethics policy?
* How has this affected BPs product positioning? Image?
* Debate...In this exercise, students will be assigned an Oil Spill topic and a viewpoint. From this moment until the end of the debate, students will make every argument supporting their viewpoint they were assigned. The students will have a research day and a debate day. On the research day, the students will need to compile all factual information possible about their topic. As a team, organize the information into main points and supporting factual information. The students will need to anticipate what the other side will argue. On the day of the debate, the students will present their opening argument, statement and viewpoint. After the opposing team has presented, the student will refute their claims with their research and facts!

Mike Reilly's picture

Anyone else see the NY Times Magazine article, "Tuna's End" ( http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/magazine/27Tuna-t.html?pagewanted=1 )

The fact that the Gulf is one of two known Atlantic Bluefin Tuna breeding grounds has to have some economic effect. With layoffs affecting families in a broad spectrum recently, it could be a great time to have students do a "Six Degrees of Kevin Tuna, uh, Bacon" thing. I'm in Northern Georgia, so we do have some Gulf influence, but not direct. What we're starting to see now is real estate effects from vacation, a resurrection of the fresh water wars too.

So, what if students had to research friends, family, etc., to find out the effect on them? Maybe create a visual map of connections. Possibly include all local/town businesses as well for a full economic impact for their community.

Paul Schlotman's picture
Paul Schlotman
11th and 12th grade engineering teacher from New Hampshire

How about doing something as simple as taking a small plastic swimming pool filling it with water and pour in a quart of motor oil and tell your students to find a way to get the oil out of the swimming pool. Give them a list of materials they can use like pieces of balsa wood, small electric motors, batteries, paper towels, plastic tubing, etc and have them make a model of a device that can collect the oil. Put them in teams of two. How about the device must be able to move independently around the pool, no remote operation. See what happens. The highest grades go to the students who design a device that collects the most oil. What do you think? If the students can do it or not it will certainly give them a feel for what the scientists are up against.

Ellen Steigman's picture
Ellen Steigman
Tenth grade English teacher in Mandeville, LA (Southeastern Louisiana)

[quote]relate spill with health effects[/quote]
Health related topics could also include the high rate of cancer in Louisiana (I've heard stats of 1 in 4 residents develop some type of cancer) and the unhealthy eating habits including frying almost everything, from seafood to pickles.

Deirdre Harrison's picture
Deirdre Harrison
Director, Theater/ESL Teacher, Admissions Consultant

I am doing this theoretically as I prepare to move from admin back to teaching and making art with students.

With a mind to a performance /multi-media piece: let's try to get a sample of crude- or see if we can make something that feels and smells like it? Let's bring in gasoline and oil and vaseline and anything else that is made with petroleum. Let's then bring in organic and non-organic objects and see what happens to these objects when covered in the variations of crude/petroleum. What can clean it off? Plenty of research to be had around this.  Build an image portfolio that one or tow students curate and an image/story wall in the classroom/rehearsal studio.

Create context for the people first effected-fishermen, BP employees-those on the water and those in offices, coast residents.  Write diaries over time-maybe these start as found narratives-each student finds a real person from a blog, newspaper, newscast, documentary and builds a narrative about that person which is rooted in research-back story and then a diary of their perception/impact on them from day one of the spill forward.  This is a way to take the big issues from really specific persepctives.  Take the writing into improvs and start to build characters.


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