Our 5th grade students have been busy creating eco-columns!
The purpose of the experiment is to observe how the eco-column functions as a self-sustaining, closed system. It replicates planet Earth and demonstrates what factors Earth requires to function and survive.
These factors include food chains, as well as chemical and nutrient cycles. Over time the columns will be tested for certain nutrients using probe sensors and carefully observe the changes, which could take place within the columns.
The results of this experiment will take time to realize, but hopefully demonstrate the actual events that could take place in nature as a result of certain changes in the environment and will show the significance of natural relationships found on Earth.
Students have constructed their eco-columns out of soda bottles and one large water jug. The soda bottles were cut to form a column consisting of divided sections and where then stacked on top of the water jug. The components for each section, aquatic, terrestrial, and decomposition, were collected and added accordingly. They consisted of organisms such as insects and fish for consumers, grass for producers, decomposers, and dead leaves, twigs, dirt, and water for the environment.
Once each level was filled and stacked, students taped off the system except for one slit for testing the water. This made the eco-column not a completely closed system; being sealed the majority of the time except for student testing periods.
The eco columns demonstrate that if the system becomes open and exposed to the external system out side the bottle, external factors could enter the ecosystem and influence it by adding or releasing certain elements.
Mrs. Ninnette Patzik, 5th & 6th Grade Science Teacher.