- Slides: 24
Water Quality Middle School
Why is Water Quality Important? • Water is an important commodity in the American culture. The USDA estimates that agriculture accounts for approximately 80 percent of the nation's water use. In agriculture, water is used to grow fruits, vegetables, crops and raise livestock. Even further though, water in agriculture is used for irrigation, the application of pesticides and fertilizers. In Kansas 29% of corn acres are irrigated. • Maintaining good water quality is something farmers strive for to help maintain a healthy ecosystem and to preserve the water that we drink. Farmers practice proper agriculture management to meet domestic water quality standards. Cooperation between agriculture and domestic water users is necessary to provide adequate water quality for both parties.
Why is Water Quality Important? • In this lab students will test water quality from difference sources of water. • This lab is best suited to be delivered right after the soil erosion lab. • Preventing soil erosion is the number one way that Kansas farmers protect from fertilizers and pesticides getting into the water supply. • Farmers are not the only ones who impact water quality in our communities. Consumers, business and industries can also impact water quality. Golf courses, lawns, parks could all apply fertilizer and pesticides, and all have an impact on water quality. • This lab is designed to get students thinking about how different segments of the communities can work together to improve water quality
Why is Water Quality Important? • Farmers and ranchers work hard to make sure they have a successful crop by reducing potential pollutants by decreasing the availability of: • soil to become sediment, primarily through the use of agronomic practices such as cover crops, residue management, and rotations that include close-grown crops; • nutrients for transport, by accounting for all nutrients available, regardless of source, method of incorporation, and application rate and timing; • pesticides through integrated pest management, including crop rotations, cultivation, biological pest control, scouting, and selecting pesticides that are more environmentally friendly, as well as through reducing the use of pesticides in their operations.
What are we looking for? • For this lab we will testing water supplies from various locations looking for key deficiencies or overabundance for Potassium, Phosphorus, Nitrogen, p. H, Total Dissolved Solids and Electrical Conductivity.
What are we looking for? • Electrical Conductivity (EC) will show the presence of salts in the water. The higher the salt content, the higher the conductivity reading. An elevated conductivity test can damage growth due to nutrient deficiencies and lower water uptake by the crop
What are we looking for? • Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is a measure of all the dissolved substances in water. This is usually closely related to EC levels and has the same plant growth problems as EC.
What are we looking for? • Potassium is important for the strength of the plant. It helps to promote protein synthesis inside the plant. High levels of Potassium in water may indicate contamination from fertilizer runoff.
What are we looking for? • Phosphorus plays a major role in plant genetics and seed development. Elevated levels in water indicates fertilizer runoff and can also deter other nutrients from functioning properly.
What are we looking for? • Nitrogen is directly responsible for leaf production and color. The presence in water for irrigation can be beneficial but must be regulated into the fertilizer program for the crop. Fertilizer runoff is the main source of Nitrogen in the water and can be a concern for both human and animal consumption.
What are we looking for? • p. H measures the acidity and alkalinity of water. The correct p. H is vital to the growth of plants as it controls the utilization of nutrients. p. H levels that are too high can cause serious deficiencies in vital nutrients needed for optimal growth and development.
Pre Lab Questions! • Our job is to investigate the water quality of the source of water collected. • Why is the quality of water important? • What do you do to preserve good water quality? • How about your community? What practices are used to preserve water quality. • This about farmers who are regulated and watch what they do that may impact water quality. Why would farmers improve their management practices to preserve water? • Note that farmers not only want to preserve water quality, but they want to keep the fertilizer and pesticides that they apply to the field on their field as it cost a lot of money to apply.
Lab Procedures! • Station Setup: • Gather water samples from various sources. Label each source for accuracy. You can call a local farmer or rancher to have access to water source if needed. • You can have each lab test a different source and report to the rest of the class their findings, or have every group test the same sources for accuracy.
Lab Procedures! • Take the lid off of your first sample. • Turn on the TDS/EC/TEMP meter and put the probe side of the meter into the sample. When the ppm unit starts flashing, push the on/off button once. This will hold the reading on the screen. • Record your TDS reading in your lab book. • Push the mode button once to switch to the EC reading. Record this number in your lab book. • Push the mode button again and record the temperature in Celsius in your lab notebook. (NOTE: If you push mode again it will give you the Fahrenheit reading).
Lab Procedures! • p. H test: Get the p. H test comparator. Cut the top off of the green p. H capsule (be careful as the powder will fall out) and put the powder in the left compartment. With your pipette add water to the fill line. Put the cap on tightly and shake the solution. Let it sit for about a minute and then record your findings in your lab notebook.
Lab Procedures! • Nitrogen test: Get the Nitrogen test comparator. Cut the top off of the purple Nitrogen capsule (be careful as the powder will fall out) and put the powder in the left compartment. With your pipette add water to the fill line. Put the cap on tightly and shake the solution. Let it sit for about a minute and then record your findings in your lab notebook.
Lab Procedures! • Potassium test: Get the Potash test comparator. Cut the top off of the orange potassium capsule (be careful as the powder will fall out) and put the powder in the left compartment. With your pipette add water to the fill line. Put the cap on tightly and shake the solution. Let it sit for about a minute and then record your findings in your lab notebook.
Lab Procedures! • Phosphorus test: Get the Potassium test comparator. Cut the top off of the blue potassium capsule (be careful as the powder will fall out) and put the powder in the left compartment. With your pipette add water to the fill line. Put the cap on tightly and shake the solution. Let it sit for about a minute and then record your findings in your lab notebook.
Post Lab Assessment • Do a Chromebook search to find out what the optimal water quality for your water source should be. This will vary depending on the purpose of your water supply. • • What do results from the testing of p. H, dissolved solids, nitrates & phosphates tell us about the health of a source? • What ideas do you have that would help improve the quality of water for that water source location? • • Research Agriculture Water Quality Management Practices • • Buffer strips • No Till • Cover Crops • Variable Application Rates
Post Lab Assessment • Click on the link to watch a video on how water quality is important for the applications of the vital nutrients and why farmers are working hard to help prevent any loss of nutrients to water runoff. https: //h 2 knowlearning. org/sections/agriculturalresearch-and-management-practices/ • • What are some of the best practices that farmers are using to help maintain the quality of our water supplies?
Take it further: • Make plans to outline what you would do to help fix and or maintain the optimal water quality for your source. Use google slides to create a presentation outlining your suggested plan for your water source. This is the opportunity for students to think about how they and their communities can work harder to preserve the water quality.
Reflection and Conclusion • Have students reflect on the observations they made in the lab. • How can you play a role in preserving water quality? • What did you learn about agriculture water quality management practices? • What surprised you the most about your lab findings?
Science and Agriculture careers: • Agricultural Inspector • Agricultural Specialist • Water Quality Specialist • Crop production Specialist
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