Water Quality Image Map

Objectives 

  • Understand the sources of Nitrates and the role that Nitrates play in an ecosystem
  • Describe the effects of excess Nitrates on water quality and human health
For Teachers

Pre-Test Answer Key
Post-Test Answer Key

Teacher Procedure

For Students
Printable Pre-Test
Printable Post-Test
Student Procedure
Student Activity Journal
[All documents are Microsoft Word documents.]

Pre-Test
Multiple-choice items make up the pre-test.
Printed copies of the exams have been provided for your students.
Access the answer key (among the resources above) to check your students' answers.

Post-Test
Multiple-choice items make up the post-test.
Printed copies of the exams have been provided for your students.
Access the answer key (among the resources above) to check your students' answers.

Lesson Presentation
This lesson introduces the students to the concepts of nitrates.  The students will gain an understanding of the chemical nature of nitrates and how nitrogen is used in an ecosystem.  This is depicted in a diagram that shows a part of the nitrogen cycle and the flux of nitrogen in an environment.  The students will be introduced to the idea that nitrogen is present in different forms (i.e. ammonia) and is changed as it travels through an ecosystem.  Further, the students will learn the causes of excess nitrates in the environment, specifically bodies of water and how excess amounts of nitrates affect water quality, organisms that live within the water and human beings.    

Activity
The activity is designed to help the students appreciate the response of goldfish to different levels of nitrates in the water.
Note: This experiment is intended to show how the goldfish are impacted by varying the level of nitrates in the water. It is expected that you will not get a measurable difference in the activity of the goldfish if the experiment is conducted without "conditioning" the water. It would be ideal if the beakers could be left out for 3-4 weeks for algae to multiply.  This would more accurately show the effects of excess nitrates in the water.  It is expected that you would then see a more dramatic difference between the fish in different nitrate levels.  Also, two to three days before the experiment is performed, the beakers could be covered (with say, aluminum foil) to simulate nighttime and you could then notice how the algae bloom changes the dissolved oxygen level in the beakers.

Tools and Resources

Software used in the lesson:
Microsoft WORD 
Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator


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