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Acid Rain

Learning objectives
strands 25
Elements and
compounds show
characteristic
chemical properties
and patterns in their
behaviour.

LESSON PLAN

Learning objectives:
strand 1 (HSW)
Analyse data from a
wide range of
secondary sources,
and use findings to
provide evidence for
scientific
explanations.

Starter

Main

Oxford University Press 2013

APP

Team workers: carry


out practical activities
cooperatively.
Independent
enquirers: support
conclusions using
reasoned arguments
and evidence.

Differentiation

What is acid rain? Show the


video clip to outline the causes
and effects of acid rain. Pause at
00:17 and name the substances
that cause acid rain.
Acid rain practical Students add
a few drops of acid rain to
samples of limestone and marble,
and observe the effects.

Jigsaw activity analysing and


presenting data on the effects of
acid rain:

Allocating tasks Students


allocate questions in home
groups of four.

Data analysis Students in


expert groups analyse data
and make graphs.

Poster making Students


explain data to each other in
home groups, and produce
poster to display and explain
graphs.

PLTS

Resources
National Geographic acid
rain video
(see URL at the end of
this lesson plan)
Teacher and
Technician Notes
Include an explanation of
the chemistry outlined in
the video, and details for
the short practical.
Acid rain practical
Small pieces of limestone
and marble; teat
pipettes; dilute
hydrochloric acid

Extension

Challenge students to use the


Internet or text books to find
out more about the causes of
acid rain.

Differentiation

In mixed-ability home groups,


task D could be allocated to
lower-achieving students.

AF5 Working with


evidence

Resources

Teacher & Technician


Notes
Activity sheet 1
Expert sheets A, B, C,
and D

This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.

Acid Rain

LESSON PLAN

Plenary

Differentiation

Poster evaluation Display posters


around the room. Students circulate and
peer evaluate the posters by writing on
a separate piece of paper one thing
they like about each poster, and giving
one suggestion for improvement.
Poster feedback Allow time for home
groups to read feedback and to make
changes if time allows.

Extension:

Students feedback on
research task (see
Main differentiation
above).

Resources

Homework

Write an article describing and explaining one effect of acid rain.

Learning outcomes
Level 3
Identify
straightforwar
d patterns in
data
presented in
various
formats.

Level 4
Identify patterns
in data presented
in various
formats, including
line graphs.
Draw
straightforward
conclusions from
data presented in
various formats.

Level 5
Interpret data
in a variety of
formats,
recognising
inconsistencies
Draw
conclusions
that utilise
more than one
piece of
supporting
evidence.

Level 6
Select and
manipulate data
from secondary
sources, and use
them to
contribute to
conclusions.

Level 7
Identify
quantitative
relationships
between
variables.

Useful weblinks
Starter Acid rain video:
http://www.natgeoeducationvideo.com/film/1233/acid-rain

Oxford University Press 2013

This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.

Acid Rain

TEACHER AND TECHNICIAN NOTES

In the main activity of this lesson, students analyse recently collected scientific data about the
effects of acid rain. They present this data graphically, and share their findings with others.
Before the main activity there is a brief introduction to the causes of acid rain, and a very quick
practical to observe the effects of acid rain on limestone or marble.
Equipment required per group:
Starter
What is acid rain?
Video clip go to http://www.natgeoeducationvideo.com/film/1233/acid-rain
Acid rain practical
Per pair:
Piece of limestone or marble
Teat pipette
Watch glass or petri dish
Approximately 5 cm3 of 1.0 mol/dm3 hydrochloric acid, labelled acid rain
Main
For each home group:

1 copy of Activity sheet 1 (task sheet)

1 copy of Activity sheet 2 (expert group A)

1 copy of Activity sheet 3 (expert group B)

1 copy of Activity sheet 4 (expert group C)

1 copy of Activity sheet 5 (expert group D)

At least 4 pieces of graph paper

Poster-making materials

Health and Safety notes:


Students must wear eye protection for the short practical task, and must not touch the
acid.

Starter
1

What is acid rain? Show the video. Pause at 00:15 and tell students that the blue
and red molecules represent nitrogen dioxide (NO2), made mainly in vehicle engines.
The yellow and red molecules represent sulfur dioxide (SO2), made when sulfurcontaining fuels, for example, coal, are burned in power stations.
The production of acid rain in the UK, Western Europe, and the USA has declined since
the 1980s. However, recently industrialised countries, such as China, have seen a
decrease in rain pH since this time.
Tell students that the main focus of the lesson is analysing data to find out about the
effects of acid rain.

Oxford University Press 2013

This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.

Acid Rain
2

TEACHER AND TECHNICIAN NOTES

Acid rain practical In this very short practical, students use a teat pipette to drip
acid rain onto a sample of limestone or marble. They observe fizzing as bubbles form.
Acid in the rain reacts with calcium carbonate to produce carbon dioxide gas, water,
and a soluble salt. This reaction damages limestone and marble buildings and statues
in areas affected by acid rain.

Main
This is a jigsaw activity, in which students analyse data about the effects of acid rain.
Allocating tasks Divide students into groups of 4. These are home groups. In home
groups, students allocate the tasks on Activity sheet 1.
Data analysis Students leave their home groups and join with two or three others
doing the same question. These are expert groups.
In expert groups, students answer their allocated question using data from the
relevant Activity sheet (Activity sheet 2 for expert group A, Activity sheet 3 for expert
group B, Activity sheet 4 for expert group C, and Activity sheet 5 for expert group D).
The patterns in the data are:
A Over time, the concentration of sulfur dioxide in the air increased overall, and
the concentration of nitrogen dioxide showed little change. The rain pH decreased.
This suggests that perhaps the decrease in rain pH might be caused by the
increase in concentration of sulfur dioxide. Of course, we cannot assume a causal
correlation.
B There are three correlations: as rain pH decreases, plant height decreases, and
so do leaf area and the main root length.
C There are two correlations: as rain pH decreases, the mass loss of stone
increases. As rain pH decreases, there is a greater decrease in concrete strength.
D The scatter graph shows that, overall, as pH increases, so does the number of
fish species.
Poster making Students return to their home groups. They explain their charts and
graphs to each other. They then make group posters to describe the effects of acid rain.
The posters can include their charts and graphs, as well as descriptions of the patterns
shown on the graphs, and pictures to illustrate the effects.
Plenary
1

Poster evaluation Home groups display their posters in the classroom. They move
around and look at each others posters. On a piece of paper next to each poster they
write one thing they like about each poster, and one suggestion for improvement.

Poster feedback Home groups read their feedback and make changes, if time allows.

Useful web links


Starter:
http://www.natgeoeducationvideo.com/film/1233/acid-rain (video)
Use the search term acid rain damage in images to find pictures of damage caused by acid rain.
Oxford University Press 2013

This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.

Acid Rain

ACTIVITY SHEET 1

Allocating tasks
In your home group, decide who will answer each question below.
A

How have the amounts of acid rain gases in Shanghai, China, changed over time? How has
the rain pH in Shanghai changed over time?

What effect does acid rain have on soya bean plants?

What effect does acid rain have on cement and stone?

What effect does acid rain have on the number of fish species in lakes?

Analysing data
Leave your home group. Get together with two or three people from other groups who are
doing the same question. This is your expert group. In your expert group:
1 Look carefully at the data on your expert sheet. Can you spot any patterns?
2 Draw a line graph or bar chart to represent your data. Each person in the expert
group needs to produce a line graph or bar chart.
3 Describe the patterns shown on your line graph or bar chart.

Back in your home group


4 Return to your home group. Show them your graph or bar chart, and explain what
it means.
5 Make a group poster to describe some effects of acid rain:

Stick on your graphs and charts.

Explain what the graphs and charts show.

Add pictures to illustrate the graphs and charts.

Oxford University Press 2013

This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.

Acid Rain

EXPERT SHEET A

Expert group A

Acid rain in China


Your question is:
A

How have the amounts of acid rain gases in Shanghai, China, changed over time? How has
the rain pH in Shanghai changed over time?

What to do
1

Look carefully at the data below. Can you spot any patterns?

Draw line graphs or bar charts to represent the data.

Describe the patterns on your line graphs or bar charts, and decide what to tell your
home group about them.

Data

Concentration of sulfur
dioxide gas in the air (g/m3)

Concentration of nitrogen
dioxide gas in the air (g/m3)

Rain pH

2003

42

58

5.0

2004

56

62

4.8

2005

60

61

4.8

2006

52

56

4.6

2007

56

56

4.5

Year

Data adapted from Shanghai Environmental Bulletin, 2008.

Oxford University Press 2013

This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.

Acid Rain

EXPERT SHEET B

Expert group B
The effect of acid rain on soy bean plans
Your question is:
B

What effect does acid rain have on soya bean plants?

What to do
1

The data below was collected by scientists in Wuxi, China.


Can you spot any patterns in the data?

Draw line graphs or bar charts to represent the data.

Describe the patterns on your line graphs or bar charts, and decide what to tell your
home group about them.

Data

Plant height (cm)

Leaf area (cm2)

Main root length


(cm)

7.0

45

101

13

4.5

42

75

11

3.0

40

69

10

Rain pH

Data adapted from K. Wen et al., Chemosphere 2011, 84, 601608.

Oxford University Press 2013

This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.

Acid Rain

EXPERT SHEET C

Expert group C
The effect of acid rain on cement and stone
Your question is:
C

What effect does acid rain have on cement and stone?

What to do
1

The data below was collected by scientists in Bologna, Italy, and Beijing, China. Can
you spot any patterns in the data?

Draw line graphs or bar charts to represent the data.

Describe the patterns on your line graphs or bar charts, and decide what to tell your
home group about them.

Data
Mass loss of calcium carbonate stone

Rain pH

after soaking in rain for 14 days (%)

5.6

0.20

5.0

0.45

4.0

0.50

Reduction in concrete strength


Rain pH

after soaking in rain for 90 days (for pH 5.6 and 3.5)


or 66 days (for pH 1.0) (%)

5.6

14

3.5

20

1.0

60

Note: The scientists used solutions of different pH instead of rain.


Data adapted from:
E. Franzoni and E.Sassoni, Science of the Total Environment, 2011, 412413, 278285.

Cement: S. Xie et al. / Atmospheric Environment 38 (2004) 4457 4466

Oxford University Press 2013

This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.

Acid Rain

EXPERT SHEET D

Expert group D
The effect of acid rain on the number of fish species in lakes
Your question is:
D

What effect does acid rain have on the number of fish species in lakes?

What to do
1

The data below was collected from 30 lakes by scientists in New York State, USA. Can
you spot any patterns in the data?

Draw a scatter graph to represent the data in the tables below.


Draw one cross for each point.
You will need the axes below:

x axis: pH (from 4.5 to 7.0)

y axis: number of fish species (from 0 to 11)

Describe the pattern on your scatter graph, and decide what to tell your home group
about it.

Data
Lake pH

Number of fish species

Lake pH

Number of fish species

4.5

5.7

4.6

5.8

4.8

5.8

11

5.0

6.0

5.0

6.1

5.2

6.2

5.2

6.3

5.2

6.3

5.3

6.3

5.4

6.3

5.5

6.7

5.5

6.7

5.6

6.7

5.6

6.8

10

5.6

7.0

Data adapted from: D. Malakoff, Science, 2010, 339, 910911.

Oxford University Press 2013

This resource sheet may have been changed from the original.

Tornado Time

TEACHER AND TECHNICIAN NOTES

The science of tornadoes


Three short experiments help pupils understand how a tornado develops. The experiments can be
demonstrated or set up as a circus if the equipment or preparation time is limited. Once Experiment
2 (cloud in a bottle) and Experiment 3 (tornado in a bottle) have been set up initially, other groups
can use the same equipment.
Equipment required per group:
Starter

Activity sheet 1
Weather forecast (online, or from a newspaper)

Main

Practical sheet 1
small bottle filled with hot, coloured water (no air gaps); either loosely screw on the lid or
cover the top of the bottle as it is lowered into the water.
tank tall enough for the bottle to be completely covered (e.g., a fish tank)
large plastic drinks bottle with lid
small amount of warm water (about 20 ml); if the teacher is demonstrating this, a small
amount of rubbing alcohol may be used for better results
match or splint
heatproof mat
two large plastic drinks bottle
connector or duct tape
water
Tornado bottles can be prepared in advance. The weakest point is the join so seal the join
firmly with duct tape. You can purchase connectors that are specially designed to join two
bottles from toy shops these are more secure.

Health and Safety notes:


Take care with water. Mop up any spills, and take care if the floor is wet. Use hot (not
boiling) water for Experiment 1. Take care with lit matches. Blow out the match before it is
held inside the bottle. Put the hot match on a heatproof mat.
Starter
1

Looking at the clouds

Students look out of the window to decide what the features of the clouds in the sky are. Activity
sheet 1 gives guidance on classifying the clouds. All students should be able to explain their choice
and come to the same conclusion. Alternatively, use the website
http://www.windows2universe.org/teacher_resources/cloud_viewer_web.pdf to match features of
the clouds outside with named clouds in the cloud viewer.
2

Describing weather

Ask students to use words to describe the current weather. They can describe the temperature,
humidity, wind speed and direction, and precipitation (rain, snow). Compare the words they have
chosen with words used in a real weather forecast.

Oxford University Press 2013

This resource sheet may have been changed from the original