Quality vs. Convenience
- Describe specific differences between rainwater and tap water
- Describe the process for testing water samples
And plants love it too.
Rain is Mother Nature’s perfect package, a slightly acidic pH with beneficial nutrients that give plants exactly what they need. The nutrients are dissolved and ready for uptake, and thanks to the optimal pH, the conditions for the plant to do so couldn’t be better.
But it makes you wonder, if rainwater is perfect for plants then why do we humans feel the need to “treat” it for our consumption? Are we really that different from the plants we eat?
The answer to that one, much like the questions about the commercial food system, lies in our need to make the things we consume shelf stable so that it can be moved, transport, and shipped around. Maybe we need to rethink that one?
Tools & Materials
- Water samples from various sources
- Home well water test kit
- Total dissolved solids
- Hard vs Soft water
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson by asking the question “How is rainwater different than the water that comes out of the tap?” Field answers from the Class and then explain the differences in the chemical nature of rainwater and tap water.
Activity (20 minutes)
Collect samples from a few sources, including the tap, rain catchment, and a stream or lake if possible. Use a home well water test kit to test and compare the results for the various water samples.
Discussion (10 minutes)
Which water do you think is best for the plants in our Lab? What about for us? Where do you think water picks up contaminants?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you would rather drink rainwater instead of tap water?
- Now that you understand the differences between tap water and rainwater, raise your hand if you think we should use only rainwater on our plants.
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