Oil spill Science experiment for kids
Oil spills are the worst kind of pollutants of the water. As everybody knows water and oil don’t mix and this cause oils to float on water. Oil is very sticky and greasy and can be difficult to clean up. This contaminates water and is dangerous for animals and natural habitat. Fortunately, scientists have also found ways to clean up the spills.
Oil spill experiments are ways to make children understand how scientists and experts clean up after an oil spill up.
What are the causes of an Oil spill?
- Accidents – There are various reasons for an accidental spill out. It can occur during storage and handling or during transportation or just maintenance activities.
- Natural Disasters – Maybe due to natural calamities like earthquake or tsunamis in the area
- Deliberate acts and mistakes by people. It could be deliberately dumped into an area in an illegal way by an industry. Could also be to conduct terrorist activities. Sometimes the personnel makes mistakes which can lead to an oil spill.
- Failure of equipment – Machines can fail sometimes causing into an oil spill.
What are the effects on the environment?
It affects the sea animals and birds and leads to an immense loss of habitat. For the birds, oil sticks to their feather and fur making it difficult for them to regulate their temperature making them prone to the cold weather. It also makes it difficult for them to fly and move around freely. Mammals and sea animals are vulnerable to the oil spill as well. The oil spill makes it difficult for the mammals to breathe and for the fishes, their eggs can be exposed to the oil.
Ways to clean up the spill
This oil spill experiment is to show the kids, how to clean up during oil spill ups. It’s not the easiest job and some spills can be quite disastrous. One can burn up the oil but that also cause air pollution.
Using dispersants can contaminate the environment.
Sometimes during an ongoing oil spill, it becomes very difficult to clean up with the machines.
Now let’s look at How to conduct a Science Experiment on an Oil spill up:
Look at the video for the complete Experiment.
- Cotton balls
- Rubber toys/ Foam toys
Add some water to a flat dish.
Add some blue food colouring to the water, to make it look more like water.
Drop-in some rubber toys or foam toys. Add oil to the water
Oil does not mix with water.
The rubber/foam toys surfaces get covered with oil.
Try using cotton balls to remove the oil.
It is rather time-consuming to remove the oil with cotton balls.
Use a feather to remove the oil.
Feathers are good to remove the oil from the water, but you will need a lot of feathers.
What did we learn?
- As soon as you add oil to the water, you can see it does not mix.
- When you add the rubber/foam toys to the oil and water mixture, It sticks to the surface of the toy.
- With cotton, it takes longer to remove the oil.
- Feathers are good to remove the oil from the water
Questions you can ask your kids:
- Keep track of the time needed to clean up the oil with different materials?
- Does oil mix with water?
- Does oil spread in the water?
- What happens to the oil if we burn it up?
- Can you imagine the effects on birds with the oil spill up?
- What happened when you used a cotton ball and a feather?
- Which techniques are good for a cleanup?
How kids can help:
- They can raise a fundraiser to protect the coastal areas.
- Less oil usage by using more cycles instead of cars, everybody needs to do their bit.