Are you a teacher? Click the button below for our related education resources.
I am the only Social Studies instructor at Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center in Charlottesville, Va. My classes are not taught by subject. Instead, students travel with the “pod” in which they live. When I plan group lessons, I am always looking for materials that can be used for multiple subjects. Unprepared: Lessons from Two Massive Oil Spills was well received by my students, and it related to nearly every subject.
The opening activity was simply having the students list three things they thought would happen if an oil tanker wrecked. The most interesting point that came from this discussion was that not one single student in any class mentioned any long-term effects. After watching the video, students chose what, in their opinion, was the biggest factor in the accident.
Students researched “The Oil Pollution Act of 1990: A History of Spills and Legislation” and created a timeline of the environmental legislation and the creation of the environmental agencies. We then watched the movie “Deepwater Horizon” and kept a scoreboard of all the times and places where regulations were ignored.
To finish the unit, we did the “Simulate an Oil Spill Clean Up” activity from National Geographic that was included in the “Unprepared” lesson. It was a big hit! At the end of the school year, we have two weeks of creative challenges with our students. This year they want to try to create different ways to remove oil from water for the engineering challenge. We are setting up a two-day challenge for those who want to participate.
TOMACINE CROUCH, a social studies instructor at Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center in Charlottesville, Va., is a Retro Report Teacher Ambassador.
- Want Your Students to Become Better Writers? Open Up About Your Writing Process
- Are You Planning a Lesson About the Terrorist Attacks of 9/11? Educators Share Their Experiences Using Retro Report Resources.
- A Native American Educator Shares How You Can Teach About Indigenous Issues
- How a Retro Report Teacher Ambassador Incorporated Vincent Chin Classroom Resources into AAPI Heritage Month
- Tackling Students’ Calls for More Diversity in Curriculum With Retro Report
- ‘You Will Find ‘Enemies of the People’ to Be Enlightening’
- How a Retro Report Documentary Kept My Students Engaged in a Conversation About the Holocaust and Upstanders