How Does it Affect Plants?

Studying the effects of acid rain on plants, students observe the growth of seeds and the health of plants for four weeks. They communicate their findings to a neighboring community center and make rain gauges that they contribute to their rooftop garden and a local community garden.

For more about Special #2 from Rooftop Garden ~ Planting Seeds of Service, e-mail LaiLai Sheung, author and AT&T Teacher Disseminator.
Learning Standards
  • Conduct a scientific inquiry.
  • Employ equipment and tools to gather information.
  • Use evidence, inference, and models to construct a reasonable explanation.
  • Communicate investigations and explanations.
  • Classroom Activities
    1. Plant 2 to 3 corn seeds in individual pots
        or milk containers. Make a few holes on
        the bottom of milk containers for drainage.
    2. Label half the pots "Clean Water" and
        the other half "Acid Rain".
    3. Read about acid rain.
    4. Understand adding vinegar to soil
        simulates acid rain.
    5. Throughout vinegar application, wear
        protective eye shields.
    6. Fill small squeeze dropper bottles
        with white vinegar.

      7. Use bottle to carefully apply 30 drops
          of vinegar to the soil of "Acid Rain"
      8. Predict the effect of acid rain on plants
          and record in science journals.
      9. Water seeds daily using spray bottles
          with regular tap water.
    10. As seeds germinate, keep track of
          plants' growth using a double bar graph.
    11. Make weekly drawings. Record
          differences in plants' appearance on
          Plant Observation Sheets.
          Display/share sheets.
    12. Write up conclusions in science journals.
    Community Activities
    Students construct rain gauges from wooden boxes and coffee cans and distribute them along with Plant Observation Sheets to a community center and a community garden.
    Students study science careers in environmental testing and protection.
    Acid rain articles from science journals and newspapers; potting soil, pots or milk containers, adhesive labels, corn seeds, dropper bottle, white vinegar, safety goggles, tap water, metric rulers, two spray bottles; materials for rain gauge
    Students look up acid rain on the Internet and Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia CD.
    Teacher evaluates students' participation in the inquiry. Based on Plant Observation Sheets, students answer and illustrate key question on the cause and effect of acid rain.

    Web Sites
    Acid Rain What Is It?