Liquids, Solids and An Oil Spill Activity!

My second graders did this awesome activity for liquids and solids! Now bear with me, I'm about to ramble for a minute...

Read on to find out what we did!

We have been learning about liquids and solids and we wanted to learn more about how the way we use different liquids and solids can have an impact on our environment.  Previously we had been mixing various liquids and solids together to see what types of reactions we could get.

In fact the very first activity I did was just put out a variety of liquids and solids and the students had to pick two things to mix together. Before mixing them they had to write in their science notebooks the way that scientists write.  So, they wrote their hypothesis down, materials, the procedure and their results. The kids had a blast and we got to see some neat reactions (baking soda and vinegar!)

We also did a liquids race with maple syrup, ketchup, vinegar and oil and some absorption activities.

Our final activity was this fun Oil Spill Activity:

We dumped oil into our "pond" (a container with rocks, plastic sea weed, rubber frogs etc.) to observe the effect that oil spills have on water ecosystems! The students then took feathers and had them "swim" in the pond.

We used our critical thinking skills and had some amazing discussions with our groups about how we could clean the feathers now that they were covered in oil.

They completed observation pages as well as brainstorming pages that can be found in this booklet:

We managed to get the feathers clean and by then the students were really interested in oil spills so I found this book to read to them:

Now I have students creating posters to help stop oil spills, letters are being written to oil companies, there is a group recording a commercial using our ipads to advertise ways that we can prevent oil spills....I just love seeing the passion coming out of my second graders!


  1. This is really cool! I used to do this with my third graders, and they would really get into helping the environment. We've revamped science now, so it isn't in my curriculum anymore. I still read the book though, awesome!

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  3. I love this! Definitely going to try this next year. I see awesome tie-ins to Media Literacy as well :)

  4. Just an added idea, but cut human hair will remove oil from water. You may want to add this. I found this on YouTube and used it with a 5th grade class