Quick (and Dirty) Inquiry

So while my 8th graders were researching the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill a few teams found youtube videos showing how hay could be used to soak up the oil. Yeah, they saw it with own eyes on the video. That was somewhat convincing but they were still curious. Could hay really soak up oil from water.

Perfect chance for real inquiry science learning. One kid brought hay from home. Another kid brought a bit of motor oil. I supplied a big bowl and water. Ta-day! Inquiry Science! Check it out:

It’s times like these that a quick (and dirty) hands-on experiment will provide more learning than a video. We only had enough materials to do this once but the whole class was watching. I bet this sticks with them more than the original youtube video! This makes me feel better about doing demos. For those times when I don’t have enough materials for every team to try something a demo does the trick.

About educatoral

Middle School Science Teacher, Husband, Father, NBCT, MAT, Gamer. Blogs at http://educatoral.com/wordpress and tweets @educatoral.
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4 Responses to Quick (and Dirty) Inquiry

  1. Pingback: Quick (and dirty) Inquiry | Mr. Gonzalez's Classroom

  2. eshwaranv says:

    Learning science can’t get any better! Great post!


  3. Tyler says:


    Thanks for sharing the video!

    What I like about the process you describe is the student-centered nature of the experience. Kids found the videos and were curious. Kids brought in the hay and the oil.

    Is this experience part of a larger project or unit of study?


  4. ktenkely says:

    I like that the learning went beyond just watching the video to trying it out themselves!


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