Small-Scale Modeling of Oil Spill Cleanup Methods

Type of Resource



This hands-on experiment provides students with an understanding of the issues that surround environmental cleanup. Student teams create their own oil spills, try different methods for cleaning them up, and then discuss the merits of each method in terms of effectiveness (cleanliness) and cost. They are asked to put themselves in the place of both environmental engineers and oil company owners who are responsible for the cleanup.

Performance Expectations

MS-ETS1-1   Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions

MS-ETS1-2   Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

MS-ETS1-3   Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

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.

MS-ESS3-3   Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.