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Biodegradable Materials and Their Effect on Dissolved Oxygen Levels
In this laboratory exercise, students will design and conduct an experiment to evaluate the effect of the presence of biodegradable materials on dissolved oxygen levels. They will come to understand the effect of biodegradable pollutants on water quality, design and conduct an experiment, interpret data, suggest additional studies, and preform serial dilutions. The students will discover that in aquatic systems, aerobic microorganisms will consume biodegradable material for energy, and in doing so will also take up oxygen from the environment as part of the cellular respiration process. They will also learn that scientists use dissolved oxygen levels as an indication of contamination by such pollutants as sewage, agricultural runoff, and organic industrial effluents. This activity has an accompanying teacher site with hints and more information. There are also links to several related sites.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Lab activity
  • Environmental science
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright College Entrance Examination Board. All rights reserved. All Rights Reserved Copyright 2002 The Environmental Literacy Council.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-007-442
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Populations, resources, environments
        • Sci. / tech. in society
    • 9-12:
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • C - Life science:
        • Matter, energy, and organization in living systems
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Environmental quality
Related resources:
This resource is part of 'Environmental Literary Council'
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: The Environmental Literacy Council