Oil Spill Engineering Project

For the past several weeks, our 4th and 5th graders have been working on a project about oil spill cleanup. The first phase of the project involved students conducting pH samples to determine the sources of pollution in the fictional town named Greentown. After gathering and analyzing data, students developed presentations for the Greentown city council to identify the sources of the pollution and recommendations for further action.

The next part of the project has been for students to use the engineering design process to design, implement, evaluate, and improve a process for cleaning an oil spill so that the oil has the least impact on the surrounding ecosystem. After some study about ecosystems, students tested different tools to use for oil spill clean up. Their observations were shared between both classes, and using that information, each student group developed a plan for oil removal in a simulated river. Students were given a budget of $20 million dollars in the planning process. Student groups carried out their plans and then tested their clean up process effectiveness using special tools. From this, students earned an overall score for effectiveness and being cost efficient.

The next step will be to analyze today’s work and develop a plan to improve upon their first design. A big thank you to all parents who donated goggles, volunteered to prepare materials this fall, and help out with the activity. This would not have happened without your help.

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Posted on November 21, 2014, in STEM and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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