Wednesday, we completed a lab which had the scientists designing a way to clean up an oil spill. One of my favorite type of labs is one in which the students come up with a way to design and test their own ideas. When I can add children's literature to the lab, it is really a favorite!
So we started out reading "Oil Spill" by Melvin Berger and journaled the ways that experts clean oil spills. We then looked at several different tools which would help clean a vegetable-paint mixture oil spill in a pie pan. Of course the pie pan had a rocky island, plants (plastic) and animals (made of chenille stems, not pipe cleaners).
Zach making his animal for his oil spill environment.
After choosing their design, we measured the results and compared each method.
Coffee filters and yarn worked well for many of the groups.
We listened to the results of each group as they presented their findings.
THEN, as I had washed and dried about 40 pie pans and poured vegetable paint mixture down the drain AND cleaned up "painty",oily newspaper used to cover the tables, I looked at all the mess! Seemed a little strange that this was an environmental lesson! :-)