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Uptake of Carbon Dioxide from Water by Plants

IFM-GEOMAR S. Soria-Dengg, Carboschools (EU)

Two simple experiments/demonstrations show the role of plants in mitigating the acidification caused when CO2 is dissolved in water.

Each experiment and demonstration set takes about 20 minutes. Additional supplies are necessary and are listed in the activity.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Short Demonstration/Experiment supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 3 Cross Cutting Concepts, 5 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 3 Cross Cutting Concepts, 3 Science and Engineering Practices

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Experiment would work well as a supplement to a lesson on the carbon cycle, photosynthesis, and ocean acidification.
  • Instructors could use narrow-range (~pH 3-8) pH strips to substitute for the pH meter in the second experiment if a pH meter is not available. Though, it should be noted, this may be less accurate and detailed than the pH meter would be.

About the Science

  • Experiment shows important processes of ocean acidification and demonstrates photosynthesis.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This activity is aimed at seconday/early high school students and provides an accurate model of the role of plants and phytoplankton in the world's oceans.

About the Pedagogy

  • Well-described experiment set up with lots of pictures to show what the experiment looks like.
  • Scaffolding around experiment needs to be provided by educator to ensure the learning outcomes.
  • While images are nice to illustrate changes that should be seen during the experiment, the instructor may consider removing them from the student handout so as not to give away any changes the students will see over the course of the experiment.
  • Incorporates life science into climate change discussion.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Well-described experiment with complete lists of necessary materials.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Short Demonstration/Experiment supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

MS-PS3.D1:The chemical reaction by which plants produce complex food molecules (sugars) requires an energy input (i.e., from sunlight) to occur. In this reaction, carbon dioxide and water combine to form carbon-based organic molecules and release oxygen.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 3

Energy and Matter, Patterns, Cause and effect

MS-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.

MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

MS-C5.1:Matter is conserved because atoms are conserved in physical and chemical processes.

Science and Engineering Practices: 5

Developing and Using Models, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

MS-P1.6:Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the classroom, outdoor environment, and museums and other public facilities with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on observations and scientific principles.

MS-P2.4:Develop and/or revise a model to show the relationships among variables, including those that are not observable but predict observable phenomena.

MS-P3.2:Conduct an investigation and/or evaluate and/or revise the experimental design to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of the investigation

MS-P4.3: Distinguish between causal and correlational relationships in data.

MS-P6.3:Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students’ own experiments) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

HS-LS2.B3:Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are important components of the carbon cycle, in which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and geosphere through chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 3

Patterns, Cause and effect, Energy and Matter

HS-C1.1:Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena

HS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.

HS-C5.2:Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system.

Science and Engineering Practices: 3

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

HS-P1.6:Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the school laboratory, research facilities, or field (e.g., outdoor environment) with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on a model or theory.

HS-P3.1:Plan an investigation or test a design individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence as part of building and revising models, supporting explanations for phenomena, or testing solutions to problems. Consider possible confounding variables or effects and evaluate the investigation’s design to ensure variables are controlled.

HS-P6.1:Make a quantitative and/or qualitative claim regarding the relationship between dependent and independent variables.

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