Water Cycle Experiments
Acid Rain

These water cycle experiments examine what happens when acid rain falls on objects made of calcite. Acid rain forms when coal is burned to produce electricity. The smoke from the burning coal combines with water vapor in the air to form acid rain. Acid rain can fall many miles away on farm land, building and on monuments when rain carries the water vapor in the clouds to other areas.

This experiment looks at different amounts of acid in water and how it affects chalk. Chalk is made from the calcite shells of microscopic creatures living in oceans. When chalk and other forms of limestone recrystallize as metamorphic rocks they become marble.

Water Cycle Experiments, Acid RainCreating a chalk bone to test acid rain

Materials

  • Blackboard or sidewalk chalk
  • Table knife
  • Vinegar
  • water
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • 4 Small plates or bowls
  • 4 plastic cups
  • Permanent felt marker
  • Eye dropper (optional)

Directions

  1. Pretest your sidewalk chalk to see if it reacts to vinegar by pouring a small amount of vinegar on the chalk. It should form little bubbles of gas on the surface of the chalk.
  2. Substitute white blackboard chalk for this activity if your chalk has an oil base and did not react to the vinegar. 
  3. Carve four sticks of chalk into different shapes.
  4. Number plastic cups 1 to 4 with a felt marker.
  5. Cup number 1 mix one teaspoon of vinegar into one cup of water.
  6. Cup number 2 mix two teaspoons of vinegar into one cup of water.
  7. Cup number 3 mix one tablespoon of vinegar into one cup of water.
  8. Cup number 4 mix two tablespoons of vinegar into one cup of water.
  9. Set you carved pieces of chalk on individual plates.
  10. Take your eye dropper and drop 10 drops of the acid water onto the first statue you carved in cup #1.
  11. Repeat the previous step with the second statue and acid water from cup #2.
  12. Repeat the experiment with the third statue and cup #3.
  13. repeat the experiment with the fourth statue and cup #4.
  14. Twice a day drop some acid water on the statues for 5 days.
  15. Write up a short summary of your experiment.

More Links to Earth Science Experiments


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