12 April 2009

Earth Day Extravaganza

Earth Day falls on Wednesday, April 22, 2009. The best Earth Day projects help children stretch their awareness of environmental issues while encouraging them to replace old habits with new, earth-sensitive practices. The ecology minded-project below is specifically designed to do just that. It's a great time to learn about our planet and how to take care of it!

Air Pollution and Pennies

Copper pennies can be used to demonstrate the presence and effects of air pollution on the environment. While copper would oxidize and tarnish in even a pollution-free environment, polluted air accelerates the process. Cleaning dirty pennies dramatically demonstrates how we are exposed to pollution in our air.

Equipment: pennies, salt, lemon jiuce, a glass of bowl, a tablespoon measure

Procedure: Place one tablespoon of salt in the glass bowl. Place one penny on the salt and cover it with another tablespoon of salt. Sprinkle with two or three tablespoons of lemon juice and let sit for five minutes. Remove penny and rub clean. Repeat if any dirt remains on penny.

Observations: Have kids describe how the penny looked before, during, and after the experiment. How did the salt and lemon juice help to clean the penny?

Discussion: How did air pollution affect the pennies? How does it affect plants? Animals? Humans? What creates air pollution? Do you contribute to air pollution? Follow up by having children brainstorm ways to reduce air pollution.

More ecology-minded projects at Teacher's and Student's Corner.

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