Sunday, February 3, 2019

Oil Spill: First Graders Save Plants and Animals "for the Greater Good!"

The Seabury Navigators literally had an oily, hands-on, authentic learning experience as we re-enacted the book, Prince William, with a tub of water, a pristine environment, an oil tanker, crude oil,  Dawn dish-washing soap, and lots of compassion and passion.


The book is about the recovery of the Prince William Sound oil spill and the rescue of its namesake, a one day old baby seal.

See our reactions in the above video, 


First of all, we made pristine environments using tubs of clean water and items from the MakerSpace.


We included many plants and animals in our ecosystems.
Notice the sting ray, the floating nest of eagle eggs, 
and the rocks on the bottom of  Prince William Sound.  
Our ecosystems were thriving until one day...

...an oil tanker hit the rocks at the bottom of the sound 
and its hull was torn open.
Eleven million gallons of crude oil 
began spilling into the sound. 
(We used a mix of vegetable oil and cocoa powder.)

Immediately, we tried to contain the spill with a boom 
but it was spreading too fast!

So we moved into rescue mode. 
We used our "blankets" to try to clean our animals.


This stellar jay looked awful!

It was a race against time.
Our hearts swelled with compassion.


We rescued all the animals we could 
and then tried to get rid of the oil in the water. 
Trying to scoop it out seemed impossible. 

We wondered if there could be other solutions.
We watched as a squirt of Dawn dish-washing soap 
caused all the oil to spread to the edges of the tub.
Could this help clean up an oil spill?


Using warm water and Dawn, 
we set to work cleaning our animals.
Could they be saved?

We washed all the rocks.


We carefully washed the "coral".

We tried really hard to save the stellar jay. 

We looked at the birds' feathers up close. 

We remembered that barbs and barbules 
are essential for flight and for insulation.

We looked to see if the barbs and barbules zip up.


When we were all done cleaning our oil spill, 
we cleaned our desks. 
We discovered that even with all of our washing, 
there were still remnants of oil. 
How long would it take for it all to go away?

And we couldn't quite get our stellar jay back to its original state. 



In this inquiry based, hands-on, authentic experience, the Navigators not only gained knowledge of animals and plants in an ecosystem, they discovered the heart behind conservation.

As one student so eloquently exclaimed, let's do this 


"for the greater good!"



For more information and inspiration, watch the following videos.
The Navigators loved them, and so will you.



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