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IT'S A PLANT'S LIFE!

Test the damaging effects of phosphate on freshwater plant life

Suitable For

Grade 6

Difficulty

2

Time Required

 <1 Week

Supervision

Advised

What’s it about?

Pollution from various chemical sources such as laundry and other detergents, is released into the soil of the earth on a daily basis. Many of these detergents are phosphate-based and can be very damaging to freshwater, plant and animal life as you will see in the following science experiment:

Topics covered

Photosynthesis, Chlorophyll, Eutrophication

What will I need?

  • 2x GLASS JARS
  • ELODEA PLANTS
  • MAGIC MARKER
  • HIGH-PHOSPHATE LAUNDRY DETERGENT
  • POND WATER
  • SPOON

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

In this science experiment, as time goes by, the jar with the added phosphates turn completely green, compared to the ‘control’ jar as the algae multiplies. The algae uses the sun’s light to produce ‘chlorophyll’ and make food through the process of ‘photosynthesis’. The added phosphates act as fertilizer for the algae in the water, allowing them to multiply out of control. As the algae grows and multiplies, they use up all the oxygen in the water and eventually suffocates the ‘elodea’ plant. The gradual suffocation of freshwater plants by algae is called ‘eutrophication’.

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