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Buffering Lakes and Streams Demonstration Kit for environmental science uses marble chips and dilute sulfuric acid solution with universal indicator to show how carbonite-rich soils neutralize acid rain.

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People are encouraged to “go green” and reduce environmental pollutants that cause acid rain or other hazards. Is society alone in fighting these battles? Absolutely not—nature can help! This demonstration uses marble chips and dilute sulfuric acid solution with universal indicator to show how carbonate-rich soils neutralize acid rain. Students observe a rainbow spectrum of color changes as the acid rain solution slowly filters through the calcium carbonate “rocks” and is neutralized. The universal indicator color changes from red in acid to blue-green color, indicating that the solution has become more neutral. The resulting “lake” or filtrate will also neutralize additional acid rain, indicating that a buffer is formed. Includes detailed discussion section, reproducible student worksheets and Teacher Notes.

Concepts:
Acid rain, buffers, water quality, acid

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Constructing explanations and designing solutions

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
MS-PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
HS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
HS-PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
HS-LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
HS-ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes
HS-ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems

Crosscutting Concepts

Cause and effect
Scale, proportion, and quantity
Systems and system models
Energy and matter
Stability and change

Performance Expectations

HS-PS1-1. Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.
HS-PS1-2. Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
HS-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.