Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is a tool for helping students learn about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Students will be able to summarize this environmental disaster and its effects, as well as conduct a related experiment.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, students will be able to:

  • Summarize the events that led to the oil spill
  • Describe the environmental effects of the spill
  • Use content-specific language to describe the clean-up efforts
  • Conduct an experiment that illustrates clean-up efforts


60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • NGSS.MS-ESS3-3

Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.


Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.


  • capsize
  • containment dome
  • drilling mud
  • ecology
  • engineering
  • microbes
  • offshore drilling
  • oil rig
  • oil slick
  • siphon

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