Acid rain has killed many trees in the northeast United States, especially in the past 20 years. Acid rain is caused by air pollution. When clean rain water falls through polluted air, the rainwater becomes polluted. It becomes acid. This experiment will show you what that means.
- acid rain – rainwater that gets polluted by falling through polluted air. It can kill trees.
- Set up: 20 min
- Activity: 2 – 4 days
You will need:
- Six short strips of masking tape to use as labels
- A pen or marker
- Three 1-quart jars with lids
- Measuring cups
- A bottle of vinegar or lemon juice
- Tap water
- Three small potted plants that you’re willing to sacrifice in the name of science
Here’s What You Do:
- Make two labels that say “a little acid.” Put a label on one jar.
- Pour 1/4 cup of vinegar or lemon juice into the jar then fill the rest of the jar with tap water.
- Label one plant “a little acid.”
- Make two labels that say “a lot of acid.” Put a label on the second jar.
- Pour 1 cup of vinegar or lemon juice into the second jar then fill the rest of the jar with tap water.
- Label the second plant with the other label that says, “a lot of acid.”
- Make two labels that say, “tap water.” Put a label on the third jar.
- Fill the last jar with tap water.
- Label the last plant with the other label that says, “tap water.”
- Set the plants next to each other, so they get the same amount of sunlight.
- Every 2 to 4 days, water the plants with solution from the jar that has the label that matches the plant’s label. (example – water the “a little acid” plant with the “a little acid” jar)
- Write down what you see and when you see it.
Questions to Answer
- What happened to each plant?
- What happened to the color of the plant leaves?
- Did the plant stems change? How?
- Which plant changed the most?
- Do the plants in your community show signs of acid rain?
- How can we prevent acid rain?