Learning about the importance of protecting the environment and the impact that climate change and global warming is having is always beneficial. Schools are currently educating the next generation of great scientific minds who need to know and understand environmental issues to acknowledge the impact we have on this planet. Eco-friendly science projects are not only great for educating people about the environment and ways to be eco-friendly, but they’re also easy to set up. Here are a few simple projects to get started.
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This experiment provides insight into how a very prominent risk to the environment; acid rain, impacts on the growth of plants. Acid rain is caused by pollutants and contaminants that get caught in our atmosphere. The experiment is really simple to set up, requiring only PH indictators to test the acidity of the water and the soil, vinegar to mix with distilled water, and two identical fast-growing plants, such as begonias. It works by feeding one plant on distilled water only, and the other on distilled water mixed with vinegar. The vinegar turns the water acidic and after two to three weeks, the difference in the growth of the two plants should be noticeable. The plant fed on acid water should show slower signs of growth and flowering than the plant fed on distilled water alone.
Recycling is on the rise in today’s society, but even with greater recycling efforts, some rubbish still ends up at landfill. It’s important that students know how certain materials can decompose slower than others. This is a long experiment that takes around two months, but it can really display how biodegradable different materials are. To o this experiment, you need to take several items that you want to include in your biodegradability experiment and bury them beneath the ground, leaving a marker where you buried them. After the items have been underground for 6 to 8 weeks, dig them up and compare how decomposed they are. This will show you how biodegradable different materials are.
Most people don’t realise the impact they are having on the environment until they actually measure it. Well, luckily, there is a site called “Carbon Footprint” (see Resources section below) that lets you do just that. Registration is free and everyone taking part in the experiment can sign up and begin calculating the carbon footprint they are personally leaving on this planet. Students will need to find out specific information, such as their utilities providers or how far they travel in vehicles. However, this experiment can be a real eye opener, is fairly easy to coordinate, and can encourage students to think about ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
Having students create their own compost heaps is perfect for demonstrating how organic matter can easily be used for compost instead of heading to the landfill site. You can easily teach students what materials are good for composting and what materials aren’t and demonstrate this with a variety of composting heaps. To prevent mess and to allow students to easily see how organic matter turns into compost, each student can create a compost heap using a large clear plastic drinks bottle, which is used to store the composting material. This experiment is usually carried out over several weeks to allow for the organic matter to start composting.
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