Acidic Freshwater Lakes

A response to the Misunderstood Activity
created by Pamela Koski Bryant (@BryantKoski)

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Ontario extend module activity:Identify a concept that is often misunderstood in your discipline. Can you think of an analogy that can help make the concept make sense to students?

Answer: I always have students in my environmental chemistry class who do not understand how pH can impact the different fish habitats in freshwater lakes. More specifically, how detrimental a low pH can be. They have a difficult time visualizing the pH scale. Therefore, I always use the comparison of our stomach acid.  Most know that stomach acid breaks down food and is very acidic (low pH). It actually has a pH of 2-3. Lakes and freshwater should have a pH of near neutral, 7. to avoid negative impacts. When we measure the pH of the lake water in our class it gives the students a better understanding of the pH scale and how acidic the water actually is.

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