The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico seems to be on everyone’s mind. Even some third-graders I was working with today were talking about it. The major news services are keeping us informed through web articles and photographs as well as traditional television news segments. Blogs and other news sites have current information and images. A recent post on the NSTA blog shared several oil spill resources. A few others to add to the list: EPA Response to BP Spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Google Earth Images.
SciLinks has a collection of websites on the topic of oil spills. Although these are noted for grades 9–12, many of them could be used by younger students. Teachers can also gather background information from them or to provide a context for the current events. The SciLinks collection includes sources such as
- How Oil Drilling Works
- Oiled Wildlife Care Network
- Spill Containment Methods
- What’s the Story on Oil Spills?
- The Effects of Maritime Oil Spills on Wildlife
- How Do You Clean Up an Oil Spill?
This event is being compared to other spills such as a recent on in California and the Exxon Valdez spill that happened more than 20 years ago. NOAA has created a comprehensive look at the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William’s Oily Mess This site is designed as a classroom resource with lesson plans, inquiry activities in a real-world context, photographs, readings, and interviews with scientists.
I’ve experienced first hand how fragile our coastal ecosystems are. And I recently visited the Gulf Coast, where I was impressed with its beauty and how productive and valuable the wetlands are. This event truly scares me, with its implications for the ecology and economy of our country.