La. Students and Teachers Demo Oil Spill - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

La. Students and Teachers Demo Oil Spill

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) -- Recreating the Gulf Oil spill to give students an idea of what effect this is having on Louisiana's environment is what some local middle-schoolers got to see.

ULM ecologist, Prof. Joydeep Bhattacharjee explains, "With students, the first feedback that I get is 'wow' when they see the oil being poured into the water. It just forms a nice slick surface right there."

They also experimented with different clean-up methods like skimming, which is sucking the oil off the water's surface. An oil dispersant was also demonstrated. As you can see, it really does break up the oil mass. A boom like device was shown, as well as sponges and cotton balls. This hands on experience is exactly what was intended.

ULM Curriculum of Instruction Asst. Prof. Lynn Clark says, "Through a pilot program at Lee Middle School, we identified there was a need for students to work with real data and then see what that looked like in a graph."

Students weren't the only ones learning today. They were joined by their teachers as well. ULM geologist, Prof. Gary Stringer says, "Unfortunately in Louisiana, a lot of the middle school teachers in life science and earth science are not certified. So sometimes, they haven't had the background that they really need to feel comfortable and to feel competent."

Through this workshop, it's hoped that teachers will be able to replicate other hands-on science experiments in classrooms this fall.

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