Thursday, October 10, 2013

Week 2: Water Testing

Students measuring the amount of chlorine in water samples
On Thursday, the students measured the quality of water samples from our watershed.  Beforehand, we made a chart of different potential water contaminants, sources of them, whether they were positive or negative for our environment, and what we thought should be a desired level for those contaminants in the water.  The students then rotated through stations where they tested the pH, chlorine level, and the amount of nitrogen in the water.  After measuring the amount of a particular pollutant, the students recorded the value and tried to filter the water or alter it so that the water would become less contaminated.  For instance, at the pH station, students added baking soda, a base, to very acidic water to form a buffer.  Other filters included a Brita filter and a student-created filter with sediment. The students measured their sample after filtering it to see if the filtration made a difference in the water quality.

An intern showing the students how to determine the amount of chlorine in water samples

A student filtering a water sample from Panther Hollow, an area in our watershed.
After compiling their data, the students determined that the most effective filtering method was making the water neutral using an acid or a base in order to form a buffered solution.

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