A student attending NOAA Science Camp identifies algae from a water sample, trying to determine whether they are a harmful algal type. (NOAA)

Education: For Students and Teachers

Explore an ocean's-worth of information related to our efforts to protect and restore the nation's waters from pollution. You'll find experiments and activities for elementary school students and life-long learners alike. We hope the information here helps inspire you and others to further investigate and preserve our incredible marine resources. Go ahead and dive in!

How Does Oil Act in Water?

Try this slick and simple experiment for elementary school students in class or at home to see how oil behaves with water.

What Happens to Oil on the Ocean's Surface?

Try this simple exercise for elementary school students to demonstrate what happens when oil spills and becomes mixed with the ocean.

Find the Best Way to Clean Oil off Bird Feathers

Take a look at the way oil affects bird feathers, and try different cleanup methods to find out which works best.

Mearns Rock: A Long-Term Study of Ecological Recovery

In 1990, NOAA scientists began a long-term study of "Mearns Rock," a large boulder that was oiled but not cleaned during the Exxon Valdez oil spill, to examine how marine life recovers from oil spills. They have been photographing the boulder each year since.

Oil Behavior and Beach Sediments

This exercise demonstrates how different oils can act with particular types of beaches.

What Happens During an Oil Spill?

Get the big picture of what happens when oil spills: how much oil gets spilled, what can cause a spill, who cleans it up, and how do they do it?

How Do Spills Happen?

Oil spills into rivers, bays, and the ocean most often are caused by accidents involving tankers, barges, pipelines, refineries, drilling rigs, and storage facilities.

Oil Spills at the Water's Edges

When oil spills into the ocean, it's especially likely to harm animals and plants near the water surface and along the shore.

Learn more in this education resource for students and teachers.

Who Takes Care of the Problem of Oil Spills?

In the United States, depending on where the oil spill occurs, either the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency takes charge of the spill response.

How to Test for Toxicity

April 19, 2017 - The testing process for determining toxicity is detailed, rigorous, and time consuming. Yet, knowing a substance’s toxic levels is important to understanding the potential risks posed to people’s health and to the environment. NOAA marine ecologist Alan Mearns explores the science of toxicity testing.

Extra Credit: Additional Educational Resources

Browse these other online resources aimed at students and teachers interested in ocean, coastal, and pollution issues.