Oil Spill! is an Event-Based Science module about oceanography. It uses the 1989 spill of over 10 million gallons of oil from the tanker Exxon Valdez to establish the context for exploring concepts related to shoreline oceanography. The task in Oil Spill! requires students to examine competing sites for a new oil terminal. Students acquire then use their new knowledge of tides, currents, marine life, and harbor topography to advise an oil company.
NSTA Recommends Oil Spill!
As with all Event-Based Science modules, much of the information that students need is provided in the pages of Oil Spill!. However, more information is needed. Students need information about the six cities that are being considered for three terminal sites. They also need information about booms and skimmers–the tools of the cleanup industry.
Below are some World-Wide Web sites where information is available. Click on the highlighted words and be linked with sites where helpful information can be found.
Oil Spill! has two remote-sensing activities sponsored by NASA.
5/3/99 (Austin, TX) A wording problem has been found in the “When Do We Sail, Captain?” Science Activity on page 22. The offending wording is found in the right-hand column and reads as follows: “..simply add positive numbers and subtract negative numbers from the charted depth.” The problem is that when negative numbers are subtracted, the effect is similar to adding a positive number. The correct wording should be: “…simply add the tide numbers to the charted depth; but keep in mind that you may have to add negative numbers.”
Thanks to Dr. Paul Myers (Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, Trinity University, San Antonio, TX) for catching this error and providing the correct wording.
The task in Oil Spill! involves evaluating six different harbors. Below are three photographs of the San Diego Harbor. We are eager to post photographs of San Francisco, Galveston, Pensacola, Charleston, and Baltimore too. If you have photos of these other harbors please call us (1-800-327-7252) to arrange for adding your photos to this page. Click on each image to view its full-size version.