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  Investigating the Properties of Water
 

Water is essential to life on earth and totally dominates the chemical composition of all organisms. The characteristics of water regulate a lake's metabolism. Its unique thermal-density properties, specific heat, and freezing point allow the formation of a stratified environment which controls the chemical and biological properties of lakes.

In this lesson you research the different properties of water. You use WOW data and complete a wet experiment to develop an understanding of how water behaves in a lake environment.

Part 1 - WOW Lake Profiles

Knowledge Base
See the student reading on the Unique Properties of Water.

Experimental Design
As a chemistry instructor you need to demonstrate typical summer and winter lake profile for your class. Write a 1-2 paragraph lesson plan detailing how to use WOW data to teach your students about how water behaves in a lake environment.

Data Collection
What data do you plan to collect to develop a typical summer and winter lake profile? How do you plan to organize the data you collect? Your presentation must be clear for your students. Collect the data from WOW.

Data Management and Analysis
Create graphs and/or tables to display the WOW data you collected. Remember to label your axes and legends and title your graphs and tables. How will you explain the graphs and tables to your class?

Interpretation of Results
What conclusions might your students draw from the data? How can you help your students reconsider any possible misunderstandings about lake profiles? What other data might help students understand typical lake profiles?

Reporting Results
After you complete Part 2 use the data you collected and your tables and graphs to create a lesson about typical lake profiles. It can be a written paper, poster, oral report, or multi-media presentation. Be prepared to answer any questions your class might have.

 

Part 2 - Lake Profiles in the Lab

Knowledge Base
Some students in your class are still a bit confused about typical summer and winter lake profiles. Consider how you might replicate the WOW data in the laboratory. What questions can guide students' thought processes?

Experimental Design
Your school has provided the following materials to create summer and winter lake models.

  1. two 5-10 gallon aquaria
  2. plastic ruler
  3. thermometer
  4. red food coloring
  5. 2 gallon carboy with valve/tygon tube/U-tube assembly
  6. salt
  7. Pasteur pipettes
  8. 5 gallons of refrigerated tap water (4-5°C)

Write a lesson plan detailing how to use these materials to demonstrate typical summer and winter lake profiles to your class.

Data Collection
What do you expect to see in your lake profiles? How do you plan to organize the data you collect? Your presentation must be clear for your students. Create your lake profiles.

Data Management and Analysis
Create graphs and/or tables to display your results. Remember to label your axes and legends and title your graphs and tables. Did your results replicate the WOW data?

Interpretation of Results
What conclusions might your students draw from the experiment? Does the experiment confirm the WOW data? If not, why? How can you help students reconsider any possible misunderstandings about lake profiles? What other data might help students understand typical lake profiles?

Reporting Results
Use the data you collected and your tables and graphs to create a lesson about typical lake profiles. It can be a written paper, poster, oral report, or multi-media presentation. Be prepared to answer any questions your class might have.


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date last updated: Friday October 08 2004