More oil spill resources

Photo by NASA

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

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.

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  1. Posted May 5, 2010 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the links. This disaster shows that the solution to our energy issues lies less in sound bites and more in thoughtful, deliberate efforts to get us to a more sustainable, less risky fuel economy. We cannot do it overnight—but we can do it if we try.

  2. MaryB
    Posted May 7, 2010 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    From NSTA’s Chemistry Listserve: Kathleen Gorski recommends the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response Resources website. This is designed for younger students and provided by WSRE in Pensacola. Thanks, Kathleen!

  3. MaryB
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    For those concerned about the impact of the oil spill on Gulf wildlife, especially birds, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology has compiled some updates and maps in the Round Robin blog:
    Bad Place, Bad Timing for an Oil Spill

  4. Posted May 12, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Alan Gould reports on NSTA’s Environmental Science listserv:

    “This fascinating in a scary way. One of the Google Maps engineers designed an image of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that you can move over any city to give you an idea of how large an area the spill is covering. You need Google Earth plugin to see it right on the web page. See “

  5. MaryB
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this resource. I entered my central PA zip code, and the oil spill would affect a greater area than the Three Mile Island 10-mile-radius map we used here in 1979. Hmmm.

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