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The earth is remarkable; the only planet in our solar system to hold life. However, our planet is also changing at an alarmingly fast rate. It is our duty to teach our children how to love and cherish the environment we’ve been gifted. Our oceans are becoming more and more polluted each day. Water pollution and waterborne illness account for 3.4 million deaths per year. The best way to do this is through education. The best time to do this is when they are young. It is hard to narrow down all the topics that go into protecting our earth. This experiment isn’t designed to impose all the woes of the environmental issues on young minds, but more so they can think critically about the importance of our environment and the world that surrounds us.
Purpose – What do you want to learn about?
Hypothesis – What do you think will happen?
Procedure – How will you arrive at your results?
Results – What actually happened?
Conclusion – Was your hypothesis correct?
Introduce the Topic
It is hard to explain all environmental issues to young children, so start with the basics and build upon that.Why is our earth so special? Why are plants an important part of our ecosystem? In a previous experiment, we talked about the pH scale; this experiment will focus on how changing the pH (i.e. pollution) can affect plant growth.
Soil pollution occurs when the soil content becomes so high that it affects plant, animal, and human life. These changes can have drastic effects on how our earth functions. Plants are the basis of the food chain – the basis for everything we eat. If plants do not have an environment in which they can thrive, then all our food supplies become disrupted.
- Plants – 5 of the same plants
- Cooking Oil
- Baking Soda + Water
- Salt + Water
Insert the Scientific Method
To determine if exposure to certain chemicals will change how the plants grow
Ask your child which plant they think will grow the best? Why do they think that? Allow them to think critically and on their own about what may or may not happen.
- Plant each plant in a see-through glass container. Label the outside with what type of substance you will be watering them with each day.
- Have your child draw and label a picture of what the plant looked like on Day 1.
- Water plants respectively.
- Place plants on a window sill allowing for plenty of natural light, and monitor them over the course of the next few days.
- Repeat Step 2 each day, and have your child draw a picture and describe what is happening each day.
Have your child observe each plant over the course of a week. Each day draw and describe what is happening to each plant.
What is happening to each plant? Did your results support your hypothesis? What do you think pollution does to plants? What are some ways you could help prevent pollution?
Help keep your child engaged in science all year long by trying some of our other experiments, such as Exploring the World with Science.
Photo Credit: Ashley Wells