Event-Based Science

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What is Event-Based Science?

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Skeptic is Won Over

How Do Schools Use EBS

Event-Based Science meets National Science Education Standards!

Oil Spill!

Event-Based Science is a new way to teach middle school science. It is an award-winning, standards-based program in which newsworthy events establish the relevance of science topics; authentic tasks create the need-to-know more about those topics; and lively interviews, photographs, Web pages, and inquiry-based science activities create a desire to know more about those topics.

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oceanography tide 

Oil Spill!Oil Spill! is an Event-Based Science module about oceanography. It uses the 1989 spill of over 10 million gallons of oil from the tanker Exxon Valdez to establish the context for exploring concepts related to shoreline oceanography. The task in Oil Spill! requires students to examine competing sites for a new oil terminal. Students acquire then use their new knowledge of tides, currents, marine life, and harbor topography to advise an oil company.

NSTA Recommends Oil Spill!

As with all Event-Based Science modules, much of the information that students need is provided in the pages of Oil Spill!. However, more information is needed. Students need information about the six cities that are being considered for three terminal sites. They also need information about booms and skimmers--the tools of the cleanup industry.

Below are some World-Wide Web sites where information is available. Click on the highlighted words and be linked with sites where helpful information can be found.

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Oil Spill! has two remote-sensing activities sponsored by NASA.

Correction Alert

5/3/99 (Austin, TX) A wording problem has been found in the "When Do We Sail, Captain?" Science Activity on page 22. The offending wording is found in the right-hand column and reads as follows: "..simply add positive numbers and subtract negative numbers from the charted depth." The problem is that when negative numbers are subtracted, the effect is similar to adding a positive number. The correct wording should be: "...simply add the tide numbers to the charted depth; but keep in mind that you may have to add negative numbers."

Thanks to Dr. Paul Myers (Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, Trinity University, San Antonio, TX) for catching this error and providing the correct wording.

Harbor Photographs

The task in Oil Spill! involves evaluating six different harbors. Below are three photographs of the San Diego Harbor. We are eager to post photographs of San Francisco, Galveston, Pensacola, Charleston, and Baltimore too. If you have photos of these other harbors please call us (1-800-327-7252) to arrange for adding your photos to this page. Click on each image to view its full-size version.

Photos of San Diego Harbor 2001 Event-Based Science Project

Oil Spill! Resources

A "pdf" file containing web sites, books, material lists, and correlations with National Science Education Standards.
Use the BACK button in your browser to return to this page.

EBS Breaking News

Click here to use Google News to search and browse 4,500 continuously updated news sources for breaking news about oceanography, oil spills, and sea life.

Satellite images of the April, 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=43768

Links to Oil Spill! related WEB Sites
(Links are checked monthly. They were working on the day of the last update.)

  • Tide Predictions This site allows you to calculate tidal predictions for more than 3000 tide stations. The list of stations has been broken down into states and other areas for which there are tide stations. Each state is further broken into regions. This site also provides access to historical tide data.

  • Selecting a Harbor: Oceanography and the Impact of Oil Spills This site provides an extensive elaboration of the Event-Based Science Oil Spill! module. Prepared for use by students at West Chicago Middle School, West Chicago, IL. It was written by Jill Mueller (miata@www.com) and Pat Pentek (ppentek@inil.com) of West Chicago Middle School. Created for The Fermilab LInC sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office, and Friends of Fermilab, and the Illinois State Board of Education.
    Two exciting additions to Oil Spill! are available at this site, a "job application form" and a "job offer letter." You will find these forms by following the link to student pages. Use them to enhance the realness of Oil Spill!.

  • National Data Buoy Center Near-real-time data from the last 72 hours are available on this server. Links will lead you to an individual station's page. There you will find real-time meteorological and wave observations (if that station is currently active), detailed wave summaries (for stations with active wave gauges), and the latest National Weather Service marine forecasts. Historical data and information about the station are also available from the same page.

Station 44009 -  Southeast of Cape May, NJ Courtesy NOAA

  • How Big is an Oil Tanker? This site contains an activity on measuring an oil tanker, the size of the Exxon Valdez. It gives students a much better understanding of the size of a typical oil tanker. In addition, the students are asked to sketch a scale drawing of a typical oil tanker

Tugboats pull the crippled tanker Exxon Valdez towards Naked Island in Prince William Sound, Alaska in this April 5, 1989.
The EXXON VALDEZ ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska on March 24, 1989, spilling 10.8 million gallons of oil into the marine environment. It is currently #53 on the all-time list of largest oil spills. NOAA

  • Prince William's Oily Mess: A Tale of Recovery A new educational case study describing the impacts and recovery of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound is now available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Ocean Service. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

  • NOAA Office of Response and Restoration This site has tools and information for emergency responders and planners, and others working to understand and mitigate the effects of oil and hazardous materials in our waters and along our coasts.

  • U.S. Census Bureau Maps and population information that will help the Economist on your team.

  • The Stowaway Adventure This multidisciplinary Internet-based learning experience has been designed to expose students to real-world problem solving through unique uses of instructional technologies. In particular, students will use real-time data from the Internet to track a real ship at sea, determine its destination and predict when it will arrive. In addition, they will have the opportunity to monitor the weather conditions at sea and predict when rough weather might impact on the ship's arrival time. (This project is developed and managed by the Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) which is located at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.)

  • The Gulf Stream Voyage is an online multidisciplinary project which utilizes both real time data and primary source materials to help guide students to discover the science and history of the Gulf Stream. Students will investigate the driving forces behind this great ocean current, how it affects the Atlantic Ocean and some of mankind's experiences dealing with it. This voyage includes activities for marine science, earth science, chemistry, physics, biology, math, history and language arts. All may be easily used in today's technology enhanced classroom. (This project is developed and managed by the Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) which is located at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.)

Pu State Park, Hawaii (EBS Institute)

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