In this laboratory exercise, students will design and conduct an experiment to evaluate the effect of the presence of biodegradable materials on dissolved oxygen levels. They will come to understand the effect of biodegradable pollutants on water quality, design and conduct an experiment, interpret data, suggest additional studies, and preform serial dilutions. The students will discover that in aquatic systems, aerobic microorganisms will consume biodegradable material for energy, and in doing so will also take up oxygen from the environment as part of the cellular respiration process. They will also learn that scientists use dissolved oxygen levels as an indication of contamination by such pollutants as sewage, agricultural runoff, and organic industrial effluents. This activity has an accompanying teacher site with hints and more information. There are also links to several related sites.


  • Science > General

Education Levels:

  • Grade 1
  • Grade 2
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
  • Grade 6
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