Somethin’ Fishy Goin’ On

Theme:Water Science
Map #:11
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This activity helps students understand acidity (pH) and alkalinity. Students will gain an appreciation of the effects of acid precipitation (acid rain) and its impacts on lakes and the life dependent on them.

Key Messages

  • Acid rain is rain, snow or fog that is polluted by acid in the atmosphere
  • Lakes that have high acidity levels cannot support the same variety of life as healthy lakes.
  • The amount of acid in a lake is measured using a pH scale that ranges from 1 to 14. The smaller number on the pH scale, the more acidic the water is.
  • Acid rain is a problem in the Haliburton/Muskoka region because many of the water and soil systems lack natural alkalinity such as a lime base - and therefore cannot neutralize the acid naturally
  • Alkalinity, the ability of a lake to neutralize acid, is dependent on the soil bedrock beneath - the granite bedrock of this area is less able to buffer the effects of acid rain than the bedrock in the City of Kawartha Lakes
  • Energy conservation and the use of renewable energy sources can help reduce the impact of acid rain

Ontario Curriculum Connections

Science and Technology
  • Understanding Life Systems, Grade 4 (Habitats and Communities)
    • analyze the positive and negative impacts of human interactions with natural habitats and communities, taking different perspectives into account, and evaluate ways of minimizing the negative impacts
    • identify reasons for the depletion or extinction of a plant or animal species (e.g. changes in oor destruction of its habitat), evaluate the impacts on the rest of the natural community, and propose possible actions for preventing such depletions or extinctions from happening
    • identify factors that affect the ability of plants and animals to survive in a specific habitat
    • demonstrate an understanding of habitats as areas that provide plants and animals with the necessities of life
    • explain why changes int he environment have a great impact on specialized species than on generalized spedies
  • Understanding Life Systems, Grade 6 (Biodiversity)
    • describe interrelationships within species, between species and between species and their environment, and explain how these interrelationships sustain biodiversity
Social Studies
  • People and Environments, Grade 4 (Political and Physical Regions in Canada)
    • assess aspects of the environmental impact of different industries in two or more physical and/or political regions of Canada
    • identify some of the main human activities, including industrial development and recreational activities, in various physical regions of Canada
    • describe some key actions taken by both industries and citizens to address the need for more sustainable use of land and resources, an assess their effectiveness
  • People and Environments, Grade 5 (The Role of Government and Responsible Citizenship)
    • create a plan of action to address an environmental issue of local, provincial/territorial, and/or national, specifying the actions to be taken by the appropriate level (or levels) of government as well as by citizens, including themselves


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