In the Cadette journey series, the Cadettes focus on the importance of clean, breathable air and learn the science behind air quality and the impact of air pollution on all aspects of our environment. A great experiment to teach the girls about the hazards and effects of acid rain, a byproduct of a polluted atmosphere, is to produce your own acid rain on a small scale.
Acid rain refers to a mixture of wet or dry deposited materials from the atmosphere that contain higher than normal amounts of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from fossil fuel combustion. Most acid rain in the U.S. results from electric power generation. When mixed with rain in the atmosphere, these chemicals form a dilute solution of sulfuric and nitric acid that falls to earth.
To see how acid rain affects local plant life, have the girls purchase five pairs of fast growing plants that are indigenous to your local community. Sprinkle one of each pair with plain water each day and the other with vinegar or lemon juice (which represents acid rain). Observe the pairs of plants every day and record observations in a journal, then draw conclusions on the effects of acid rain based on the results.
Some pertinent questions the girls can ask are : What effect does acid rain have on the environment? What does it do to plants and ecosystems? How does acid rain affect us? And finally, the girls can begin working on the most important question: What can we do to limit or even stop it?