On Earth Day, the grade 5 science classes set up the following experiment using 3 bottle biology terraqua columns from earlier in the year. The experiment is based on a suggested activity, Polluting Your Planet, in the Junior Master Gardener Teacher Guide.
The bottle represented the Earth. Earth is a closed system that includes the following:
- atmosphere – the gases that surround the earth (the air around the plants)
- lithosphere – the solid part of the earth including the soil (the soil in the top part of the bottle)
- hydrosphere – the water on earth (the water in the soil and in the lower part of the bottle)
- biosphere – the living things on earth (the plants in the soil and in the water)
Purpose - To investigate the effects of pollutants on the biosphere.
Sample Prediction - from 2 students in the class.
- salt water - It will stay alive.
- oil – It will die.
- acid rain – It will die.
- salt water – will affect the water under it. The plant will survive but it will kill the one on top
- oil – Death for all !!!
- acid rain – will burn the leaves and kill the plants
- 3 bottle terrarium – each with water and a plant in the lower section, a plant and soil in the top section
- salt solution (1 Tablespoon in 2 cups of water to represent incorrect fertilizer applications)
- oil (3 tablespoons of motor oil to represent pollutants from fossil fuels)
- vinegar solution ((half vinegar and half water to represent acid rain)
- plastic bags to seal each of the bottle containers.
- Pour salt water solution on the soil in bottle #1.
- Pour oil on the soil in bottle #2.
- Spray vinegar and water solution on the plant and soil in bottle #3.
- Enclose the top of each bottle terraqua column with a plastic bag, so each bottle represents a closed system with atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere like the Earth. Seal the bag.
- We left the plants for 2 weeks and made observations at the end of the time.
Sample Student Observation - from the same 2 students.
- Salt water – no effect on plant in the water but only a couple leaves left.
- Oil – The plant on the top is dying slowly but did not affect the plant in the water.
- Acid rain – Both plants are slowly dying.
- salt water – it sucked up all the moisture from the leaves
- oil – leaves are losing their color and gradually falling off and dying
- acid rain - killed every thing!!!!!!!!!
Sample Student Conclusions - from the same 2 students.
Student #1: All liquids effect the out-of-water plants, but not all liquids effect the plant in the water.
Student #2: Pollution can kill every kind of plant, so do God’s will and stop polluting!!!!!
(See directions for building a bottle biology terraqua column.)