Have you ever felt the sand beneath your feet, breathed in the salty ocean air and thought 'they are eternally unchanged' as you looked over the great expanse? Unfortunately, they aren't unchanging and my students don't understand it and what impact it will have. They will - after this project.
These students live in a rural district near a major metropolitan area.
This is not an affluent county and many hardworking families still make their living "in the field." While they maintain a "small town" sense of community, they are informed and connected through the world-wide web. They are concerned about the future of agriculture and the environment; and many go on to earn degrees in Agricultural Engineering and Animal Science. They are our future farmers and are inspired to succeed - even though our schools have little technology and even fewer laboratory supplies.
The ocean is changing right before our very eyes! Whether you believe that WE are the culprits or not - it doesn't matter. They ARE becoming more acidic with each decade. This will impact the entire food chain that 5 billion people depend on - because it attacks the very base of that food chain: the zooplankton.....
In this two week research project, my Honors Chemistry 1 classes will create laboratory models of the oceanic zooplankton using these 2L Mason jars and Brine Shrimp. We will start with a pH of 8.5 and the models will progressively be acidified at varying rates... The students will compare the level of acidification and the 'zooplankton population's' health. At the end of the research period, they will write and submit research papers and either lend support to the theory that ocean acidification will cause a food chain collapse - or refute it.
Global awareness is something that so many of our young people lack today.
The relationship between scientific research and real-world impact also seems to elude them. This project will strive to bring all of those concepts into their lives in a meaningful manner.
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