Friday, February 28, 2014

Field Study Expedition At the Gulf: Students Put Their Training To Use

It’s Go Time at Perdido Key State Park in Florida!

The West Florida High School students teamed up with scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and began their search for oil patties along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. On their first day, they were able to collect about 80 oil patties in an hour and a half. That would have taken two scientists an entire day. The team inspected the samples closely, took photographs, and recorded observations in their journals. The samples collected by this team of well-trained "GOO-ies" were shipped to WHOI for analysis. WHOI scientists will be able to identify the source of the oil (for instance, does it contain oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill?) and use the students' samples in ongoing oil spill research. Students will then be able to track the results of their samples, through an online database. Check out the video above to see what happened during our field day.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Oil Patty Collection Techniques: Figuring Out What To Look For

The fourth lesson focused on teaching students about the proper step-by-step techniques for collecting oil samples on the beach. For a practice run, students participated in an oil patty collection simulation where they found and collected oil patty samples that had been hidden around the classroom. They learned how to distinguish characteristics of an oil sand patty and how to tell the difference between a discrete and composite sample. To wrap up, the class discussed what scientists will do with the oil patties once they have been collected and what parameters are used during analysis. Check out the video above to see what happened during our fourth GOO lesson.