My children recently went to a library lesson on coral reefs. They built their own piece of coral and learned much about coral.
As part of the conversation, they learned a little about oil spills and did a discovery type activity where they were cleaning up their own oil spills.
For this part of the lesson, the teacher relied on You Tube Videos, such as this one.
Then, the children were given their own experiment to do. The instructor had some water in a disposable metal pan, and poured some olive oil in the pan.
He provided yarn, cotton balls, q-tips, eyedroppers and dishwashing soap to help clean up.
My children jumped right in and began working. They found that there were several configurations that worked okay, but they had a very difficult time making progress in removing the oil before they could break it down with the dish soap, making for a very interesting experiment.