This activity investigates the relationship between light and plant growth. It is based on research activities that took place on a remote Arctic expedition. Students will examine a set of four ‘ice core samples’, to see if they can identify the variation in algal (plant) growth caused by different seasonal conditions.
Make four ‘ice core samples’ and bring Arctic science into the classroom or home. Students will take each of the samples, melt it, and analyse its contents for evidence of algal growth.
To prepare for this activity, you will need to create four different samples that represent ice cores taken from the Arctic sea ice with varying seasonal conditions.
These ‘ice core samples’ are ice cubes made from a brine solution (c. 30 g of salt per litre of tap water) mixed with different quantities of dried herbs to represent algal growth. The addition of salt will make the ice cores easier to crumble by hand.
Sample 1 – ¼ tsp dried herbs per ice cube
Sample 2 – ½ tsp dried herbs per ice cube
Sample 3 – no dried herbs
Sample 4 – small sprinkle to dried herbs per ice cube
Depending on the size of your ice cube tray, you may need to adjust the amount of dried herbs, but ensure that you keep the ratios described above. You will need one of each sample per student or group doing the activity.
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