Hello, my name is Aislinn Burnett. This is one of my all time favorite labs that I have done with my 7th grade students. The students love getting to explore such a real word topic with their own hands and there are so many opportunities to engage in thoughtful discussion about ecology and human impact.
-Methods of oil spill clean-up
I use this lesson in my human impact subsection of my ecosystems unit. It can be used in tandem with my Human Impact R.A.F.T. and/or the Kudzu Memo. My human impact subunit takes up a full week, with this lab as the centerpiece for our 2 hour block. It could be done in two one hour blocks, with the data collection one day and the data analysis the next.
-Make sure the students know that they can only test ONE method at a time and if they want to move on to another clean up method, they must develop a new hypothesis to test.
-Letting the students develop their own methods helps encourage those engineering an design skills vital to scientific learning.
-The memo section at the end is also a great way to introduce writing about science with students. I use the Kudzu memo to teach my students how to write a memo prior to this lesson. Essentially, just be sure they know how you want them to write their memo prior to assigning it to them.