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10th Grade Biology LSH-MI

Page history last edited by suzieboss@... 9 years, 8 months ago

Project Overview ~ Form courtesy of Buck Institute for Education (www.bie.org)                      page 1


Team members: 

Jennifer Duann        



Name of Project:


Gulf Oil Spill on Trial





Biology, OGT Prep Science

Grade Level:

10, 11 

Other Subject Areas to Be Included:



Project Idea

Summary of the challenge, investigation, scenario, problem, or issue:

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is one of the worst environmental disasters ever, but how is it relevant for students in the Midwest (and other places) far from any ocean?


The class will conduct a trial to determine responsibility for the Gulf oil spill.  Students will research and play the roles of defense and prosecution teams, plaintiff and defendant, and various witnesses. 

Driving Question

What is the role (and responsibility) of humans in the oil spill, and the living world in general? 

Content and Skills Standards to be addressed:

1a. Why are there oil-drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico (and around the world)?

Earth Sciences, Benchmark D: Describe the finite nature of Earth's resources and those human activities that can conserve or deplete Earth's resources.

GLI 10.5 Explain how the acquisition and use of resources, urban growth and waste disposal can accelerate natural change and impact the quality of life.

Science and Technology, Benchmark B: Explain that science and technology are interdependent; each drives the other.

GLI 9.1 Describe means of comparing the benefits with the risks of technology and how science can inform public policy.


1b. Why do humans need oil and other fossil fuels?

Physical Science, Benchmark C: Describe renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy (e.g., solar, wind, fossil fuels, biomass, hydroelectricity, geothermal and nuclear energy) and the management of these sources.

GLI 6.5 Explain that the energy found in nonrenewable resources such as fossil fuels (e.g., oil, coal and natural gas) originally came from the sun and may renew slowly over millions of years.

Physical Science, Benchmark F: Explain how energy may change form or be redistributed but the total quantity of energy is conserved.

GLI 9.16 Illustrate that chemical reactions are either endothermic or exothermic (e.g., cold packs, hot packs and the burning of fossil fuels).


2a. How does a disaster such as the oil spill affect different organizational levels of life?

Life Sciences, Benchmark G: Describe how human activities can impact the status of natural systems.

GLI 10.18 Describe ways that human activities can deliberately or inadvertently alter the equilibrium in ecosystems. Explain how changes in technology/biotechnology can cause significant changes, either positive or negative, in environmental quality and carrying capacity.


2b. What are the different levels of organization in living systems?

Life Sciences, Benchmark F: Explain the structure and function of ecosystems and relate how ecosystems change over time.

GLI 10.5 Explain how living things interact with biotic and abiotic components of the environment (e.g., predation, competition, natural disasters and weather). 


Scientific Inquiry, Benchmark A: Participate in and apply the processes of scientific investigation to create models and to design, conduct, evaluate and communicate the results of these investigations.

GLI 10.4 Draw conclusions from inquiries based on scientific knowledge and principles, the use of logic and evidence (data) from investigations.












21st Century Skills explicitly taught and assessed (T+A) or encouraged (E) by project work, but not taught or assessed:




Other: Web research










Critical Thinking:







Culminating Products & Performances



90-minute courtroom proceedings

 Presentation Audience

  Presentation Audience:










Write-up summarizing character's position on the oil spill

Juror position statement

Teacher: Judge's statement







Project Overview ~ Form courtesy of Buck Institute for Education (www.bie.org)                      page 2


Entry Event to

launch inquiry

and engage students:

Show online map of oil spill relative to students' hometown: http://paulrademacher.com/oilspill/

Show various live feeds of the oil spill:  http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/homepage/STAGING/local_assets/bp_homepage/html/rov_stream.html



Formative Assessments

(During Project)


Practice Presentations


Journal/Learning Log




Preliminary Plans/Outlines/Prototypes





Rough Drafts


Concept Maps


Online Tests/Exams





Summative Assessments

(End of Project)

Written Product(s), with rubric:

position paper 


Other Product(s) or Performance(s), with

rubric: court room proceedings

Oral Presentation, with rubric

Peer Evaluation



Multiple Choice/Short Answer Test




Essay Test








Resources Needed

On-site people, facilities:

Lecture hall, principal/administrator to serve as judge 


Computer, projection system, video camera 



Community resources:



Reflection Methods

(check all that will be used)

Journal/Learning Log



Focus Group



Whole-Class Discussion



Fishbowl Discussion: Video?










Junk Drawer: http://www.fi.edu/tfi/activity/earth/earth-2.html 


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