We are really proud to have been awarded UNESCO Associated School status. One of the reasons for that was our environmental work and global viewpoint. This water monitoring project is a great example of that. The projects on water are being undertaken by children around the work to show how important and fun Chemistry really is.
The children gave up some of their lunchtime as did Miss Allen to do the experiment again a lovely illustration of their commitment to learning.
2011 is of course the Year of Chemistry, and the project entitled “Water a Chemical Solution.” is billed as the world's largest Chemistry experiment. Thousands of students have already taken part since the projects official launch in Cape Town on World Water Day in March this year. During that we all learnt about the importance of water especially with a growing urban population. We raised funds to help our partner school in Nairobi buy a water tank for their school.
Our measurement was done lunchtime just ahead of WORLD WATER MONITORING DAY on the 18th September because it fell on a Sunday this year we did our tests a little early. We want to try and do a few more tests before the end of the year along the river and see how it changes.
Because of the sudden downpours the river was a bit higher than normal (only about 30cm deep near our test site by Ely Bridge 51deg 29 02 00 N, 3deg 13 53 09 W). One of the adults collected the water as we counted 60 seconds it needed to be submersed for. We measured the water temperature 12degrees and Air temperature 16 degrees. We estimated the turbidity of the water using a simple guide at 40JTU and we noticed that slowly the particles in the water settled to the bottom of the collecting flask. We could see that the water was quite clear there was not much visible pollution.
The test that took the longest was the Dissolved Oxygen, we had to shake it for 5 minutes before we could take the reading of 6ppm. Miss Allen asked us about how fish breathed using the disolved oxygen in the water and told us that is how a lot of the creatures got their oxygen. If there is no oxygen then there is not much life in the water.
We measured the pH value of the water at 6.5.
We quickly looked at the wildlife in the sample jars and found lots of shrimps which we took back to study under the microscope before we returned them to the river.
The Royal Society of Chemistry has some great links to water on it's own website here. The BBC had a little radio broadcast on the World Service' Science in Action about the project (available on iplayer)