Global Awareness Week: Year 2 Oil Spill Scientists

The week of 13-17 February 2017 saw us focus on Global Awareness issues across our campus with the Primary School looking at sustainability issues from taking care of our ocean environments, to recycling materials and making pledges as year groups to have an impact locally. 

Knowing the theme of the week we were really fortunate to have identified one of our parents, Mr Traves, who worked in the area of oil spill clean-ups and he supported us we planned and developed a great learning experience for our Year 2 students. From the get go the Year 2 cluster was a hive of authentic problem solving as they were tasked with removing dangerous oil spills from the ocean. We explored the issues related to Oil Spills and developed an understanding  of very harmful effect they have on marine life - notably turtles, which Y2 have been studying over the past few weeks. The Year 2 children were introduced to the concepts of overflow and underflow and were tasked with using these methods to remove oil from the water. 

The spills were simulated using cooking oil and water and as the week progressed the children took part in a series of lessons designed to teach them about how oil spills, both large and small, can be cleaned up.
 
On Monday the children were set a STEM style challenge, where they were supplied with some basic equipment (straws, plastic bottles and containers), and asked to design a system for separating oil from water. Through a process of enquiry, the children developed two ingenious solutions that they later found out actually existed in real life - 'under weirs' and 'over weirs' (removing from the surface and removing from below the surface).
 
On Tuesday we mixed up the Year 2 classes and set about working collaboratively to try out models of different types of skimmers - boom, disc, drum and float - to evaluate their effectiveness. Part of the day  was spent in the senior school science labs to investigate which materials were the best at cleaning up oil spills from water. It was fantastic to see how quickly our young students adapted to their new scientific environment.

The sessions culminated on Wednesday when our real life scientist, engineer and expert on oil spill clean-ups (and a parent), Mr Adrian Traves, came to talk to Year 2. He showed the children how what they had learnt in the classroom applied to the real world. He showed pictures of booms, skimmers and weirs and how they are used in combination to clean all manner of oil spills in all sorts of locations. 

It has been amazing to see the children so engaged with this project and we owe a huge thank you to Mr Traves for his help and support in planning this week's lessons. The children now better understand that they really are in a position to have a positive impact on our environment, as Global Citizens.