Oil Spill Bioremediation Kit
The role of bioremediation in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DHOS) serves as the investigative phenomenon as students conduct and analyze a controlled biodegradation experiment using drain cleaner microbes, corn oil, and a chemical indicator. Once students make sense of how the experiment serves as an oil spill bioremediation simulation, they ask questions and design their own experiments with biodegradation to see if they can make the simulation even more realistic. Next, they present their claims, evidence, reasoning, and arguments to their classmates. The investigation culminates in an assessment that has students interpret data from the DHOS, consider the role of bioremediation in oil spill cleanup, and summarize oil spill impacts on threatened and endangered species. Throughout the investigation students strive to understand the driving question, “How can microbes be used to clean up an oil spill?”
Teacher prep, 20 minutes. Pre-lab, investigation, and assessment, approximately 6 class periods.
Includes 1-year access to digital resources that support 3-dimensional instruction for NGSS. Digital resources may include a teacher manual and student guide, pre-lab activities and setup videos, phenomenon videos, simulations, and post-lab analysis and assessments.
Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Ideas
LS4.D: Biodiversity in Humans
Science and Engineering Practices
Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
- Observe the breakdown of corn oil by oil-degrading microbes and learn how microbes can be used in the bioremediation of marine oil spills.
- Design and conduct a biodegradation experiment to answer a question posed after the pre-lab activity.
- Consider the impact that bioremediation had on the DHOS. Describe how biodiversity was affected by the DHOS and recommend conservation efforts for endangered species.
Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills
Students should know what a septic system is and the definition of biodegradable. They should be familiar with bacteria and the ways in which different groups obtain and use energy to survive. Students also need to understand biodiversity and its value.
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