2. Water Analysis - Sources and Standards

Distributors of water quality test kits:

  • Red Sea makes the least expensive dissolved oxygen test kit I have found with 60 tests for $10. It is available at many pet stores or you can order it online at A Fishy Business. Some of the ingredients are toxic so use all available safety precautions with kids - gloves, aprons, eye protection, etc.
  • In my own classes I used a test kit from Acorn Naturalists 100 tests for $25. It is very simple for students to use - just add 2 pellets, shake and wait for a color change - however it only gives 3 readout levels: anoxic, poor and good. In fact, I could not get water bubbled overnight with an aquarium pump bubbler to give me a good readout.
  • I'm tempted to try Chemetrics next year to obtain more accurate readings. It is more expensive at 30 tests for $40.
  • Other sources of water quality test kits include:
    • Proaquatica
    • LaMotte Company
    • Hach Company
    • Carolina Biological

This activity was adapted from Monitoring Creek Health a 6-8th grade curriculum written by the Point Reyes National Seashore Association. Save the Bay also developed a superb curriculum which includes many ideas for mapping, monitoring, and restoring local watersheds. This lesson is in many ways modeled after Save the Bay's lesson plan “Keeping an Eye on Our Creeks". Kids in Creeks is a curriculum guide produced by the Watershed Project and is available to teachers who take their superb workshops. They provide extensive resources for teachers interested in adopting a local creek. Included in their curriculum are many water quality monitoring activites, including conducting an insect survey and a plant life survey as indicators of creek health. North Carolina State University has an excellent set of additional activities to further investigate the effects of water quality factors.

Grade 6 Ecology (Life Science)
e. Students know the number and types of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and on abiotic factors, such as quantities of light and water, a range of temperatures, and soil composition.

Grade 8
5. Chemical reactions are processes in which atoms are rearranged into different combinations of molecules. As a basis for understanding this concept:
e. Students know how to determine whether a solution is acidic, basic, or neutral.

All grades Investigation and Experimentation
7. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations.