Saturday, June 05, 2010

ORCON: The Science of Oil Spills

Becoming a Facebook fan of the Ohio Resource Center has already created another student fan of the ORC. Thursday afternoon I was discussing the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with a student creating a lesson on the topic and working with databases, including Middle Search Plus, to find articles for middle school students. When I logged in to Facebook on Friday morning I was pleased to see a wall post detailing the most recent ORC ON topic e-publication, The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

"Current events present us with unique learning opportunities. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico gives us a chance to connect what budding scientists are learning in the classroom to the world. We've pulled together a set of materials that can be used to examine the oil spill through a variety of lenses. - ORC*ON, The Ohio Resource Center

E-publications are presented by grade level, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12, and detail a variety of information such as podcasts, internet resources, lessons, and activities covering the oil spill, it's environmental impact, clean up, and response. After emailing the resource to the student in question, I was thrilled to see her working in the library not long after lunch Friday afternoon. Exploring the Grades 6-8 tab, we found a great web connection link; Gulf Coast Oil Spill Map. In conjunction with Google Earth, this site compares the size of the oil spill with different global locations. Selecting Ashland, Ohio, the oil spill covers an impressive portion of the state from Lake Erie through Cleveland, Ashland, and Columbus, and then trails through the southeastern counties and into West Virginia (screen shot, Google Maps).

I spent a longer period of time working with this application than was necessary, but it definitely provides opportunity to put the spill into a more easily understood perspective for students. To be honest, it was eye-opening for me as well. Visit ORC ON: The Science of Oil Spills, for more great resources.

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