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Acid Rain Activities & Games

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Are you teaching your students about acid rain and need some activities to keep them engaged? Check out this lesson for fun activities and games that enhance your students' learning.

Acid Rain Activities

What does Acid Rain do?

In this experimental activity, students will get to see the effects of acid first-hand.

Materials for each group:

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 2 eggshell pieces (about the same size)
  • 2 green leaves
  • 2 dimes or nickels
  • 2 glass jars with lids (labeled with tape and marker)
  • Optional: 2 pH testers
  • Recording sheet or notebook paper

Procedure:

  • Students will work in groups of 2—4.
  • Assign each group member a role: Discussion Director, Materials Manager, Recorder, and Encourager.
    • Discussion Director - group leader
    • Materials Manager - in charge of materials
    • Recorder - records observations
    • Encourager - helps everyone and encourages each person to do their part
  • Students will collect materials.
  • Students will pour the vinegar into one jar and the distilled water into the other jar. Optional: have students test the pH level and discuss findings.
    • Acknowledge that there is acid in the vinegar.
  • Students will make predictions about what will happen to the objects placed in the vinegar compared to the objects placed in water. Record predictions.
  • Place the eggshell, coin, and leaf in the labeled vinegar jar. Place the other eggshell, coin, and leaf in the labeled water jar.
  • Let the jars sit for an entire day or for better results, overnight.
  • Students will observe changes, discuss as a group, and record findings.
  • After one week, students will observe the contents of the jars and again make observations, discussions, and record findings.
  • Gather as an entire class and discuss how acid rain affects objects. What might happen to plants and animals in the environment?

Don't Rain on Me!

Students get to see how acid rain affects an entire ecosystem with this experimental activity.

Materials for each group:

    • 2 clear 2-liter soda bottles (or other clear containers), tops cut off
    • Labels for bottles
    • Clear plastic wrap
    • 2 large rubber bands
    • Small watering can or small cup
    • Lemon juice
    • Grass seed
    • A bucket-sized amount of dirt
    • Recording sheet or notebooks

Procedure:

  • Students will work in groups of 3—5. You could assign similar roles for group members as in the vinegar activity.
  • First, students will create their own mini-ecosystem. Explain that they will see how acid rain affects an ecosystem. Place the following in each bottle:
    • Soil to about half-way
    • Seeds on top of soil
    • Use watering can or cup and add about 1 cup of water
  • Seal the bottles with plastic wrap and secure the plastic wrap with the rubber band.
  • Label one bottle as the 'control' and one bottle as the 'tester'.
  • Place the bottles on a sunny windowsill or under a bright lamp and let sit for about five days.
  • In five days, have students observe what they see. Discuss and record.
  • Then, tell the students that storms are expected over the next week!
  • The 'control' ecosystem will get about a half a cup of water every other day. The 'tester' ecosystem will get about a half a cup of water mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice every other day.
  • Have students make predictions based on what they think will happen to the ecosystems.
  • Continue the experiment for at least one week taking the plastic wrap off the top of the bottles. *Observe, discuss, and record what seems to be happening.
  • As a class talk about what acid rain can do to larger ecosystems with plants and animals.

Acid Rain Games

Run for your Life!

In this game, students get to participate in an obstacle course where they are fish trying to avoid acid rain!

Materials:

  • Filled water balloons
  • Jump ropes
  • Large outdoor area (could be indoors, but make sure water gets cleaned off floor)
  • For each obstacle course you set up:
    • 1 Bucket or bin
    • 1 soft ball
    • 16 Hula hoops
    • 10 cones
    • 10 hurdles (can be various sizes or look online to see how to create your own simple hurdles)

Procedure:

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