Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center

Robert Brosa, Highland Park High School, Topeka, KS


Appropriate for grades 8-12.

OVERVIEW:  In modern day society there are many types and sources
of pollution which directly affect the environment.  One such type
of pollution, which is becoming even more predominate through the
construction of nuclear power plants, is that of thermal
pollution.  Power plants use vast amounts of water which are
converted to steam by the thermonuclear reaction.  This steam is
used to turn the blades of the turbines which turns the generators
producing the electricity.  The hot water resulting from condensed
steam is partially cooled in specially designed towers before it
is released again into the environment by means of a reservoir or
stream.  The temperature of the return water is great enough to
raise the temperature of the body of water several degrees.  Such
increases in temperature could greatly affect the organisms living
in the water.

PURPOSE:  The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate to
students the effect increased water temperature has on the amount
of dissolved oxygen found in water and in turn upon the gill beat
rate of fish.

OBJECTIVES:  Students will be able to:

 1.  Describe the proper procedure for observing and recording

 2.  Describe how to use the Winkler method for O2 determination
     in water.

 3.  Demonstrate how to graph and interpret data.

 4.  Discuss what effect increased temperature has on the amount
     of dissolved oxygen in water and in turn upon the gill beat
     rate of fish.

ACTIVITIES:  Equipment needed (for each lab group):  cold aerated
pond water, 800 ml beaker, minnow, hot plate, Celsius thermometer,
ring stand, cork, stirring rod, Hach Dissolved Oxygen test kit,
data table, graph paper.

Day 1:  Step #1 - Place 600 ml. of cold (50C.), well aerated pond
                  water into a 600 ml beaker.

        Step #2 - Place minnow into beaker and set on hot plate.

        Step #3 - Suspend Celsius thermometer by means of a ring
                  stand and cork in center of beaker.

        Step #4 - Allow minnow to quiet down and take the gill
                  beat rate by counting the movement (beat) of the
                  operculum which covers the gills.  Take the
                  count for 30 sec. and multiply by 2 to obtain
                  rate per minute and then record count in table
                  of results on work sheet.  (By taking the
                  average of 2 or 3 counts you may be more

        Step #5 - Turn on hot plate and heat water slowly while
                  gently stirring.  Take a count of the next gill
                  beat rate when the temperature is at 100C. and
                  record data.  (You will need to stop the
                  stirring when the beat rate is taken.  A double
                  beaker with surrounding water may be used if
                  water heats too quickly.)

        Step #6 - Repeat steps 4 and 5 at 15, 20, 25, and 30
                  degrees Celsius, recording your data each time.
                  If the minnow begins to float at the surface or
                  wildly thrash about immediately return to cold
                  water as we do not intend for it to die.

        Step #7 - Take the recorded data and plot on graph:  Gill
                  Beat Rate vs. Water Temperature.

Day 2:  Step #1 - Same as step #1 above.

        Step #2 - Without placing minnow into beaker use the cold
                  water sample and your Hach water test kit to
                  determine the amount of dissolved oxygen in
                  parts per million (ppm).  Instructions are
                  contained within each kit.  All data will need
                  to be recorded on your worksheet.

        Step #3 - Return the amount of water lost from testing to
                  beaker.  Place beaker on hot plate, stir gently,
                  and remove sample for testing when it reaches

        Step #4 - Repeat Step #3 and test the amount of dissolved
                  oxygen at 15, 20, 25, and 30 degrees Celsius.
                  (If test kits are in short supply or you do not
                  have enough time to make a test at each 5 degree
                  interval, each lab group may be assigned only a
                  few and the data taken and averaged for the
                  entire class.)

        Step #5 - Make a graph of Dissolved Oxygen (ppm) vs. Water

        Step #6 - Study each of the graphs which you have made and
                  from your analysis write your conclusion.


TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:  The balance of nature, as we often hear,
is a very delicate one.  Each organism has its own specific
tolerance levels to many different environmental and human imposed
factors.  The oxygen level of water is but one of many factors
that will determine what species will be present of survive in a
freshwater ecosystem.  In today's society we need to be more aware
of how we effect that balance of nature and weigh carefully the
results of our actions and decisions.


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