Be sure to get an adult's permission and help.

Oil spills are very harmful to plants and animals and are almost impossible to clean up. What is the best way to clean up oil that spills into an ocean, river or lake? Do your own experiment to see what kinds of materials might be best for cleaning up oil spills on water.

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Fill a dishtub, small bucket, or large bowl halfway with water.

Pour 3 tablespoons of heavy cooking oil (such as olive oil) into the water.

Choose a cleanup material to test. (You can refill one container with clean water and oil each time you test a new material, or fill several containers at once to test different materials at the same time.) Use your material to try to clean up as much of the oil (but not the water!) as you can. (To test sand or kitty litter, drop some slowly onto the floating oil and see what happens! Then shake the container a little, as if waves were in it.)

Does anything change? Put each oil-soaked material on a dry paper towel when you are done testing it.

How well did each material absorb the oil? How do you know how well it worked? Do you see less oil on the water? More oil on the paper towel?

How well did cotton balls absorb the oil? Did you see less oil on the water?
More oil on the water? Tell us about each material you tested!
Which one do YOU think will work best...
cotton
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DIDN'T CLEAN UP AT ALL.
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CLEANED UP GREAT!
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Gets coated with oil Clumps the oil and sinks
 
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