The Science School Yard: Pipelines and Oil Spills

Friday, February 12, 2016

Pipelines and Oil Spills

Connecting Science to the classroom can be easy if you find links. Our third grade teachers were reading a story about an oil spill and the effects it has on the environment...we are in our FOSS Water Unit and so....connecting water to oil spills and pipelines is a great fit for older kids.

With a few simple supplies students can connect...water travels downhill, water beads on the table if there is a leak, oil and water do not mix, there is surface tension in the cup of water...

However the best part is that you can have the students engineering during a water unit! Here is a quick video on the building of the pipeline...then we discuss pros and cons of oil traveling a great distance over land and water. We then discuss our need for this fossil fuel and alternative sources of energy and its benefits.

We read a quick chapter from two EPIC books using an overview and quick write in their notebooks(write and draw what you see and hear)...
Chapter four is about Drilling for oil...

The picture of the pipelines in this book help make connections....

Here is the quick video we watch...it gives them a chance to see what a pipeline looks like...

Now...it's  time for a pipeline...we discuss the importance of sealed pipelines so that there are no spills and the consequence of the spill. We then have them design a model of what they will build. Everyone is assigned jobs...

Here is what they get...
Here are some of their designs as they work together...
I walk around and remind them...water travels down hill...


Have you sealed all pipeline connections????

This activity is a great way to use STEM with reading and writing! When we were finished we wrote the pros and cons of creating pipelines to get crude oil. Discovering how difficult it may be to ensure no spills addresses issues that effect us today! Whether it is oil spills or pipelines these activities allow any Water Unit to have hands on learning experiences!

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