Developed by:  Catherine R. Ney
Subject:  Physical Science
Unit:  Environmental Pollution
Grades:  Middle grades:  4-8
Type:  Structured Experiment

 Impact of Acute Acid Precipitation on House Plants

Objectives:
 1. To predict the effect of acid precipitation on house plants.
 2. To perform a controlled experiment using one variable, acid water.
 3. To graph results of acute acid precipitation on house plants.
 4. To discuss the impact of acid rain on our forests.

Materials:
 house plants,  2 per group (Zebrina are inexpensive)
 vinegar water (1 gallon per group)
 tap water
 students' logs

Procedure:
 1. Dilute one gallon of tapwater with vinegar until it turns red. (Use litmus or BTB test.)
 2. Students deterimine that vinegar is an acid and predict what effect it will have on their house plant.
 3. Students record their predictions in their log.
 4. Each group experiments with two-identical house plants.  Root each in identical pots and soil; place each in same amount of sunlight (window sill); and water each 75 ml of liquid twice per week. The only difference is that one plant is always watered with tap water; the other plant is always watered with vinegar water.
 5. Students tend their house plants twice per week at the same time of day.  They graph this data in their logs: the height of the plant growth on the vertical axis; the number of days on the horizontal axis; and the two plant results are recorded in two-different colors (red and blue).
 6. After a month, groups present their findings to the class including: their predictions, observations, results, and conclusions.
 7. The class discusses the possible impact of acid precipitation on forests.  Students do library research to verify their hypothesis.

Evaluation:
 1. Check students' logs to insure that all students have made predictions as to the effect of acid precipitation on their house plant.
 2. Check students' logs weekly to insure that all students have recorded and graphed information correctly.
 3. Assess group presentations of their findings.
 4. Evaluate students' library research findings.