Third grade scientists take on oil spills

by | Jan 18, 2024 | Trending News

Ally St. Pierre
At Strelitz International Academy, students become International Baccalaureate® learners starting as early as six weeks old. A huge part of an IB® education is the IB® Learner Profile Traits, which include being principled, open minded, an inquirer, balanced, caring, a thinker, a communicator, a risk-taker, knowledgeable, and reflective. The young scholars embrace the IB® Learner Profile Traits in everything they do. Last November, third grade students in Allena Anglen’s class put on their science hats, wore their safety goggles, and demonstrated the traits of being an inquirer, risk-taker, knowledgeable, thinker, and reflective in their oil spill themed lab.

To begin this lesson, the third graders gathered around as Anglen read two stories. The first was a realistic fiction about the 1989 Prince William Sound spill titled Prince William by Gloria Rand; the other book was a nonfiction text titled Deepwater Horizon by Nikole Brooks Bethea about the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The students also looked at before and after images of bodies of water affected by oil spills, which encouraged them to reflect on how these spills not only affect the oceans, but life both inside and out of them.

Then, the students became scientists. Anglen tasked the students to test different ways to clean up an oil spill by using pipe cleaners to represent animals in the oil-filled water. To attempt to get rid of the oil, students used a spoon, a fork, yarn, nylon stockings, cotton balls, and disposable pipettes. Unfortunately, the students realized that the pipe cleaner animals did not survive. The third graders also determined that prevention of oil spills was the best method to keeping the oceans clean.

Throughout this process, Strelitz students learned that scientists fail at times, but that is the best way to learn and grow from past experiences. To wrap up the lab, Anglen asked her class, “how do we take this knowledge and move forward?” This question is not just relevant to the oil spill lab, but to any tasks her students may face in the future.

Strelitz International Academy is the community’s Jewish Day School and International Baccalaureate® World School for infants through grade 5. For more information, contact Ally St. Pierre, admissions and marketing manager, at 757-424-4327, ext. 4188 or