What happens to plants when rain is acidic? Set up an easy acid rain science project with this flowers in vinegar experiment. Explore what causes acid rain and what can be done about it. A great project for Earth Day!
EXPLORE ACID RAIN FOR KIDS
WHAT IS ACID RAIN?
You might already know that water is necessary for all living things on Earth. Rain provides much of the water for the planet. (Check out our water cycle in a bag activity!) What happens though when rainwater becomes acidic?
Most water, including the water we drink, has a neutral pH between 6.5 to 8.5. Acid rain is rainfall, and other forms of precipitation that are acidic, that is has a pH lower than 6.5.
What causes acid rain?
Some acid rain is caused by gases released from rotting vegetation and volcanic eruptions. Most acid rain is caused by chemicals released into the air from burning coal, petroleum, and other products.
The main gases that lead to acid rain are sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. When these gases come into contact with water and oxygen they turn into acids. A chemical reaction takes place!
How does acid rain affect the environment?
Can acid rain hurt us? Acid rain is not acidic enough to directly burn our skin. However, acid rain has a harmful effect on forests, plants, soil, insects and other life-forms.
Acid rain is especially damaging for aquatic habitats, like streams, ponds, lakes and rivers as it affects the organisms that live in the water.
Fish, and other aquatic animals and plants are very sensitive to changes in the pH of the water. For example; at a pH of 5, fish eggs won’t hatch. This in turn affects other organisms that feed on them.
How can we reduce acid rain?
Using renewable energy, such as power from windmills, water, and the sun (solar) instead of fossil fuels helps to reduce the levels of acid rain in the environment.
You can help too by reducing your energy use at home and at school. Turn off lights, computers, TVs, video games, and other electrical equipment when you’re not using them.
ACID RAIN EXPERIMENT
Let’s explore the effect of acid rain on the environment with this simple experiment! This is a great hands-on STEM activity that is sure to get kids thinking!
This acid rain project asks a few questions!
- What is acid rain?
- What causes acid rain?
- What impact does acid rain have on the environment?
Let’s explore the answers together!
- 3 Flowers
- 3 Containers
STEP 1: Add water to the three containers. First one full, second one 1/2 full, and third one 1/4 full.
STEP 2: Add vinegar to the second two, enough in each so that all three containers are equally full.
STEP 3: Add a flower into each container and wait.
Observe them for 24 hours. What do you see happen?
ACID RAIN EXPERIMENT EXPLANATION
When you add vinegar to the water, it lowers the pH and makes the solution acidic. Similar to acid rain.
Which flower looked the best after a day? You would have found the flower sitting in the water, which had a neutral pH was the freshest.
What does acid rain do to plants? Acid rain may damage the leaves of trees and plants, making it harder for them to photosynthesis. It also changes the pH of the soil, dissolving essential minerals that the plants need to grow.
MORE EARTH DAY ACTIVITIES
Discover tons more fun and do-able Earth Day activities for kids, including art and crafts, slime recipes, science experiments and more. Like these ideas…
Explore the impact of stormwater runoff pollution for Earth Day.
Explore ways to help the Earth by reducing your carbon footprint.
Learn about the effect of storms on coastal erosion and set up a beach erosion demonstration.
Here is a simple ocean science experiment you can set up with seashells in vinegar that explores the effects of ocean acidification.
Try this oil spill cleanup experiment to learn about ocean pollution right at home or in the classroom.
ACID RAIN SCIENCE PROJECT FOR KIDS
Discover more science & STEM activities right here. Click on the link or on the image below.