Cool! Warm! Hot! Frigid! Or…….


We would not survive long without air……only about six minutes in fact. Fortunately, air is all around us so we do not have to try to survive without it. Air has a huge effect on the biosphere. It also has significant effects on the other spheres. Cool! …..Or warm……Or frigid……. Or muggy…….Or super hot………..depending on the air temperature at the time.

You have just completed an experiment that investigated the relationship between worms and some aspect of the atmosphere. Now your task is to design and conduct an experiment
that investigates the interaction between the atmosphere and an aspect of any other sphere. WOW! How exciting is that! You get to choose. And the world is your laboratory.

The options are limitless. All you have to do is choose something from another sphere (biosphere, atmosphere, or geosphere) and design an experiment that explores how the atmosphere interacts with something from that sphere.

I will give you an example of an experiment that explores the relationship between air and water (a part of the hydrosphere). THIS IS ONLY AN EXAMPLE. You may NOT use this experiment for this assignment. [Most of you did this experiment in elementary school!]

The question might be “What is the effect of air temperature on water evaporation rates?”

The hypothesis might be “If the air temperature is warm then water will evaporate more quickly than it will in cooler air temperatures.”

The experimental plan could be:

1. Get two different containers and put 1 liter of water in each container.

2. Put one container in the closet of a warm room. Label the container and record the temperature of the room.

3. Put the second container in a closet in the cooler, un-insulated garage. Label the container and record the temperature of the garage.

4. Measure the water level in each container after seven days.

5. Subtract the amount of water left in each container from 1 liter to find out how much water evaporated from each container.

6. Record observations on a data sheet.

See how easy it is! Remember, you cannotdo an experiment with water and air for two reasons. One, you already know what the result will be. You probably did this already in elementary school. Two, I have already outlined the experiment. Part of what you need to learn in this class is how to design your own experiment. You cannot learn that by doing an experiment that I have already designed! So, off you go. Be creative. Design your own experiment. But wait! Be sure to read the directions below before you do anything!!!!!


· Whatever you decide


1. Determine what you want to find out when you do your experiment. Write down the QUESTION that you are trying to answer.

If you are having trouble coming up with a question, think of the many things associated with the atmosphere. Some examples include:

· Weather (wind, dew point, humidity, evaporation, transpiration)

· Pollution (car exhaust, acid rain, ozone pollution in the lower atmosphere, smoke)

· Erosion

· Oxidation (rusting or other changes that happen when things are exposed to air)

Once you have decided on which aspect of the amosphere that you would like to investigate, then start brainstorming about things that would influence that aspect. For example, you could explore how air speed (wind) affects evaporation rates or how car exhaust affects plants or how exposure to air affects sugar. Try to think of your own question. The possibilities are limitless.

2. Predict what you think the outcome of your experiment will be. (Hypothesis)

3. Design an experiment to test your prediction. Remember to include a control. Be very specific. Tell me exactly what you plan to do. Tell me how much of everything you plan on using. Tell me how long you plan on running the experiment and how often you will check it. Tell me how you will record your data. I want details!!!


Submit your experimental design to me via email before going any further. I will give you feedback on your design within three days. If the design is scientifically sound, you may go ahead and conduct your experiment. If it has flaws, we will work together until you have designed a valid, reliable experiment---then you may go ahead and conduct your experiment.

5. AFTER you have received my go-ahead, conduct your experiment. Be sure to keep detailed lab notes. Your lab notes should contain a record of everything you did as well as all the data you collected. Each entry should have a date on it (month/day/year).

6. Follow the directions below to submit your assignment.


A. Re-send me your original question, your hypothesis, and your experimental plan.

B. Send me your lab notes. I want to the observations that you recorded. Do not simply send me a summary of your results. I want to see a record of your observations. Be sure to include dates and measurements.

C. Based on your observations, write a conclusion. What does your data tell you? What did you learn from your experimental results?

D. What kind of relationships did you find between water and the aspect of the sphere you studied?

E. Do your findings support your hypothesis? Why or why not?

F. If you were to do this again, what would you change? Why?

G. What additional experiments could be performed?

Please, send me the information requested in analysis questions A-G.


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