How does road salt affect our environment? A free activity to investigate a slippery dilemma.

Middle School, High School

Here’s a slippery dilemma: It’s the middle of winter and you wake up at the crack of dawn for school and peek through the window. Still dark outside, the snow is quickly piling up, the driveway needs shoveling, and the roads are getting icier by the minute.

Depending on your school’s snow day policy, you either do a happy dance and leap back into your still-warm bed to enjoy a blissful snow day at home…or you grab an extra cup of joe, silently curse the region in which you live, and brace yourself to head to school – because class is still in session.

As you’re driving in, the roads and sidewalks along your commute have been heavily salted (we hope!)

But did you ever stop to think if the salt on the roads that gets you to school safely is not so safe for your local ecosystem?

In this activity, students will investigate just that as they analyze various concentrations of road salt runoff in pond water to recommend the optimal level for keeping roads safe with the least impact on the environment.

 

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