We started working on the Oil Up badge back in January when the oil spill in Port Arthur was in the news. AnnaBeth asked how oil spills happen, and, hey, why not get a badge if we're going to learn something new, right? Also, I can't say this enough: THE JUNIOR GIRL SCOUT BADGE BOOK IS GREAT FOR HOMESCHOOLING.
So we found a Thinkquest article on oil spills that we read and discussed, which I counted as Activity 1 - A Day's Work ("Learn what rescue workers or scientists do to try to save animals that have been affected by an oil spill'). Then we looked up some products that petrolwum is used for for Activity 10 -It's in What?.
We then set this badge aside until March, when the weather warmed up and it was a good day to work outside on a rather messy part of the badge -- Activity 5 - Make and Clean Up an Oil Spill. Our oil spill took place in a plastic container filled with water into which we dumped some canola oil:
We decided it was easier to see what you're doing if you put food coloring in the water. AnnaBeth tried several ways to get the canola oil back out of the water, including a spoon and paper towels. She's emptying the spoon into the little round plastic container nearby. She discovered that none of our homemade methods were very successful.
After spending quite a while trying to get the oil out of the water, we moved on to Activity 6 - How Does an Oil Spill Affect a Beach? She set up a beach scene in her plastic container using twigs and bits of plants, Playmobil people, a feather we found (to represent birds):
Added water, and then dumped in canola oil:
Things were calm at first, and then the waves started hitting the shore. AAACK!
(I think this would've worked better in a bigger container).
We had to throw out the feather and the plants. Sheesh, what a mess.
AnnaBeth didn't want to do the geography parts of the badge because she thought we should concentrate on science. I wanted to do them, though, because they seemed fairly easy. So she acquiesced and tried Activity 3 - Where in the World? using a map we found online that shows world oil reserves to color in a map she placed in her Girl Scout notebook with her badge records.
Then she selected one of the countries to study further -- Russia -- for Activity 4 - Around the World ("Pick one country other than your own that supplies the world with oil. Find out about the people who live there.") She read about Russia in a some books we have, including Children Around the World and DK's Geography of the World. This turned out to be one of her favorite parts of the badge.
Overall, this is an interesting badge that you can take in many different directions. It doesn't seem to be a terribly popular badge to do around here -- I'm pretty sure AnnaBeth is the only kid in her troop to earn it. Anyone else out there in blogland working on it?