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IT NEVER RAINS BUT IT POURS

Test the effects of acid rain on ocean life

Suitable For

Grade 4

Difficulty

2

Time Required

 <1 Week

Supervision

Advised

What’s it about?

The term acid rain has been around for a long time. Pollution from various sources such as power plants, amongst others, is released into the earth’s atmosphere in one place on earth and fall back to earth in another.

Acid rain can damage many different forms of life. Acid rain turns the pH-level of the oceans more acidic and this dissolves or weakens the shells of living sea creatures. Other animals higher up in the food chain that normally eat them then go hungry too and in this way a little pollution has a big effect. Test how seashells are weakened with an acidic substance in this science experiment:

Topics covered

Calcium carbonate, Acid rain

What will I need?

  • 4x PLASTIC CUPS
  • MUSSEL SHELLS
  • CLAM SHELLS
  • VINEGAR
  • TAP WATER
  • MAGIC MARKER

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.

This science experiment works because ‘calcium’ and the form of ‘calcium carbonate’ is a component of many ocean creatures’ shells. When the ‘calcium carbonate’ comes into contact with an acidic substance such as acid rain, or the ‘vinegar’ as used in this experiment, a chemical reaction takes place, releasing bubbles of ‘carbon dioxide’ gas. As the shellfish in the ocean or the shells in this science experiment loses ‘calcium’ to this chemical reaction, the shells are weakened and are more flexible, making the shelled creatures in the ocean more vulnerable.

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