Grade Range
4th-7th
Active Time
45 minutes
Total Time
90 minutes
Credits

Overview

Sea turtle covered in oil

"Oiled Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle" © 2013 NOAA

Spill it and clean it! Students will observe the effects of a simulated oil spill on land, water, and wildlife. In groups, students will then test different materials and tools used to clean up oil spills and evaluate them for their effectiveness.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • 4-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.
  • 3-5ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
  • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Planning and Carrying out Investigations. Plan and conduct an investigation collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence.

Collect data about the performance of a proposed object, tool, process, or system under a range of conditions.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions. Apply scientific ideas or principles to test a design of an object, tool, process or system.

Generate and compare multiple solutions to a problem based on how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the design solution.
4-ESS3.A: Natural Resources Energy and fuels that humans use are derived from natural sources and their use affects the environment in multiple ways.

3-5-ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions Tests are often designed to identify failure points or difficulties, which suggest the elements of a design that need to be improved.

3-5-ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution Different solutions need to be tested in order to determine which of them best solves the problem, given the criteria and the constraints.

ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems Human activities in industry have had major effects on the land, vegetation, streams, ocean, air and even outer space.

MS-ETS1B: Developing Possible Solutions Models of all kinds are important for testing solutions.
Cause and Effect. Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

Systems and System Models. Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes, and outputs—and energy, matter, and information flows within systems.

Stability and Change. Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.

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Grade Range
4th-7th
Active Time
45 minutes
Total Time
90 minutes
Credits
Free science fair projects.