Oil Slick

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Can you think of ways to collect and dispose of spilled oil without causing further harm to the environment? In this activity, learners will discover which materials best clean up oil by creating their own mini spill and trying to clean it up using several different materials. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org. Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • Yellow vegetable oil
  • Tablespoon
  • Clear plastic or glass bowl
  • Water
  • Spoon
  • Fishnet, cheesecloth, or gauze
  • Cotton balls
  • Polypropylene cloth


  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Human Impact
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases
      • Chemistry of Life
      • Solutions


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • TryScience


  • All rights reserved, New York Hall of Science,