Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just How Big Is It?

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is fast shaping up to be the biggest environmental disaster ever in the U.S.  It's hard to grasp the sheer enormity of it.

The Google Earth blog  has posted some great links over the past few days related to the oil spill. Google has now created a Crisis Response page, a series of KML files you can download that help visualize the disaster.  There is also an interactive map you can use if you don't want to download the file, as well as links to other sources.

To bring the spill even closer to home (so to speak!), Paul Rademacher, an engineering manager for Google, created this plug-in that allows users to compare the spill to various cities, including their own home town.  A great tool for helping students (and teachers!) get their head around the sheer size of this thing.

UPDATE:  I got curious and started looking around for lesson plans  on oil spillls.  There are plenty out there, but this one looked especially interesting:  students create their own "oil spill" and try to work out methods for clearing it up.  Comes with student handouts and full lesson plan.  I'm not a science person, but it seems very adjustable for grades 6 on up.

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