Students will create 3 jars of artificial pond water, collect data on their physical and chemical properties, and compare them to Pinelands water data. Students will be able to distinguish between a physical and a chemical property.

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Lemon juice
Baking soda
pH paper (optional)
Litmus paper (red & blue)
3 pint size jars
Pinelands Water Properties student data sheet
"Properties of Pinelands Water" handout

Through discussion, draw a distinction for students between a physical and a chemical property (characteristic) of water.

Set up 3 pint size jars of artificial pond water with your students using these recipes:

Jar 1. 1/2 teaspoon soil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 1/2 cups warm tap water

Jar 2. no soil, no chemicals (lemon or baking soda), 1 1/2 cups cool tap water

Jar 3. 2 teaspoons soil, 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 1/2 cups cold tap water

Direct students in small groups to use their senses, thermometers and pH or litmus paper to collect data and complete the "Pinelands Water Properties" student data sheet.

When all data has been collected, review the results with students.

Using the information on the student data sheet, relate the results to conditions of Pinelands surface water as shown on the "Properties of Pinelands Water" handout (if you are able to get a sample of Pinelands water, repeat the above tests and analyze and compare the results).


Check to see that the data collected by students is consistent and accurate. Question to see that the students understand the distinction between physical and chemical properties.


1. Plan a trip to the Pinelands and conduct some physical and chemical tests on various bodies of water. You will need to obtain water test kits from a scientific supply house to test for the conditions you wish to investigate. As an investigation of the physical characteristics of Pinelands water, you might wish to test the speed of Pinelands streams, especially in the area of an old mill, where you might speculate on the water's role in industrial development.

This lesson will introduce the students to the following vocabulary words:

aquifer, chemical properties, physical properties.

This lesson covers the following New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards. Clicking on the standard number will take you to the complete text of the standard. You must use your browser's "BACK" button to return to this page from the linked Core Curriculum Standard pages.

Science standards:

5.1-All students will learn to identify systems of interacting components and understand how their interactions combine to produce the overall behavior of the system

5.8-All students will gain an understanding of the structure and behavior of matter.

5.10-All students will gain an understanding of the structure, dynamics, and geophysical systems of the earth.

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