Here are a few ways to teach your kids about oil spills and the clean up afterwards.
By Joan Whetzel
Oil and water don’t mix; it’s a well known fact. The oil, which is less dense, always rises to the top any time it’s added to water. That include oil spills caused by oil rig leaks and failures which cannot be cleaned up without intervention. Additional scientific exploration is needed: (1) to find ways of dealing with oil slicks on water, (2) to prevent or minimize environmental damage from oil spills, and (3) to clean up after spills occurs. These few experiments can be used as a little summer fun or as a school project to help kids learn the concept of oil and water as well as helping them think of ways to help clean up future oil spills.
Oil Spill Cleaning Up
What You Will Need:
· flat, clear baking dish or clear plastic container
· vegetable oil
· aluminum foil
· cotton balls
· polypropylene cloth (an oil based product that attracts oil)
1) Pour water into a clear baking dish or plastic container until half-full.
2) Create a foil boat by molding the piece of foil into a canoe shape
3) Fill the foil boat with oil and float it gently on the water.
4) Cause a mock oil spill by tipping over the boat.
5) Try to clean up the oil spill with cotton balls and take note of how well the cotton soaks up water with the oil. Establish the number of cotton balls required to soak up an ocean spill.
7) Repeat the experiment, only this time, after the foil boat spills its oil, gently agitate the dish or plastic container to reproduce wave action dispersing the oil.
Estimate how long dispersion would take in an ocean setting.
9) Clean up the oil spill with polypropylene cloth, noting how well the propylene cloth soaked up the oil. Determine how much propylene cloth was needed to soak up the same amount of oil.
10) Compare the cost of the cotton and the propylene cloth. Compare the amount of each product used, how long it took to clean up the oil spill with each product, and how well each product worked for cleaning up the oil. Decide which method of clean-up is more time and cost efficient.