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Chesapeake Bay

Activity 3 (Explore/Explain):

Algae in a Bottle

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Activity Summary

In this extended experiment, students explore the effects of algal blooms on dissolved oxygen levels of water in a system by growing their own algae blooms in water bottles. They also connect excess nutrients to excess algae growth. This will prepare them for understanding how nutrient pollution affects the Chesapeake Bay.


Activity Objectives & Materials

Approximate Time: 2 class periods + intermittent time to collect visual and dissolved oxygen data


  • Students will perform an experiment to determine the effects of excess nitrogen in natural bodies of water

  • Students will understand that eutrophication, nutrient pollution (specifically nitrogen), and dead zones are all connected



  • Materials for Algae in a Jar experiment (see below)

  • Dissolved oxygen test kit

  • Additional glassware (ex test tubes) so multiple students can test at the same time

  • For clues wall: “Lots of algae in the Bay before fish died”

  • Algae in a Bottle Teacher Guide


  • Algae in a Bottle experiment procedure

  • Data collection sheet

  • Analysis & summary sheet

Experiment Guide: There are a lot of options for this experiment regarding materials and timing. At the start of the module, be sure to check out the Algae in a Bottle Teacher Guide below to help prepare.

Standards Connection




1. Frame the Activity


2. Introduction to Algae

3. Algae Experiment Setup


4. Observations and Dissolved Oxygen Testing

5. Results

6. Analysis

7. Sensemaking Discussion

8. Formative Assessment: Conclusion


For more information about On the Air 2020, contact:

Rebecca Davis, Education Manager


For more information about Clean Air Partners, check out our website at:  www.cleanairpartners.net

© 2020 by Clean Air Partners.