It may be difficult to envision the magnitude of the Gulf Coast Oil Spill. While we can watch the news or hear about it from Gulf-dwelling friends, it's still not an easy thing to get a handle on. Google has created a tool using Google Earth that will allow you to compare the area of the oil spill with the size of your town or city. If you don't currently have Google Earth on your computer, the site makes it easy for you to click and install the plug-in. You can then compare it to cities like Manhattan or Paris, or type in the name of your town.
Another group, The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, has created a site of first-hand accounts of the spill, all linked to a map so you can get an idea of the size of the affected area. There are also several other interactive maps out there, one by the New York Times to track the oil spill. You can set that map back to April 22nd and see an animation of the spread throughout the Gulf.
These resources were all featured on the blog Free Technology for Teachers. Thankfully, those of us not in school can still benefit from this information. If you'd like to find out how to help, Take Part has a useful directory of organizations that need volunteers, donations, and other forms of assistance.