This resource is my 7 page lab report on testing and observing the properties of water. This was a lab my middle schoolers performed on the Mississippi River, however it can be used for any natural water source. The lab has students perform the following tests on a natural (unfiltered) water source such as a river, pond, or lake and compare those to tap water:
Lab Report: The lab report begins with background information on dissolved oxygen, iron, pH, nitrates and phosphorous. The data table has students include not only their quantitative data from the tests but also space for them to record qualitative data on the color/clarity of the water, smell, iron content, presence of algae and any additional observations.
Procedure: Easy and simple to follow directions on pH, nitrate, phosphate and dissolved oxygen titration. I used the LaMotte Precision test kits for these tests and heavily modified/simplified the directions to fit the needs of my students. More information on these kits and prices can be found here. Phase 2 of the lab had students collect water samples to bring back to class which we examined under our microscopes using the wet mount procedure (directions for retrieving sample and wet mount procedure are included). Students then recorded what they saw in their microscopes with a drawing and description. To help students identify possible water organisms I included an "Organisms Commonly Found in Water" chart that includes 3 different types of algae and 5 different types of various organisms and a description of why those organisms are present in the water.
Post Lab Questions: After performing the lab, students are asked to analyze their results and determine what can be concluded about the health of your water source based on these test results.
Teacher notes: I included a 3 pages of notes on where to find supplies and possible modifications to this lab. I included an additional data table and instructions if those modifications were suitable for your classroom and you choose to incorporate them into your lab. This lab would work well for high achieving older middle schoolers as well as high school students.
This resource comes in a pdf and Word document for easy manipulation and editing to suit the needs of your classroom.
Note: this resource is in a zip file. Some computers may need a program such as Winzip to open these types of compression files. Please see this website for more information on how to open a zip file here.
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