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Oil Spill Solutions

Lesson Focus 
Lesson focuses on how engineers use various techniques to provide speedy solutions to oil spills or other threats to natural water resources. Through this lesson, students work in teams to analyze an "oil spill" in the classroom, then design, build, and test a system to first contain, and then remove the oil from the water. Students select from everyday items to build their oil containment and clean-up systems, evaluate the effectiveness of their solution and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.

Age Levels:

8 - 18
Objectives 
  • Learn about environmental engineering.
  • Learn about chemistry and chemical engineering.
  • Learn about engineering design.
  • Learn about planning and construction.
  • Learn about teamwork and working in groups.
Anticipated Learner Outcomes 

As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • environmental engineering
  • problem solving
  • teamwork
Lesson Activities 

Students learn how environmental engineers develop equipment and procedures to help reduce environmental impact from accidental oil spills. Students work in teams to design and build a system out of everyday items that will eliminate oil from a classroom waterway. They test their system, evaluate their own results and those of other students, and present their findings to the class.

Resources/Materials 
  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Worksheets (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheets (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.


Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks
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