Acid Rain and Buffers


Learn how certain types of lake bottoms can act as buffers.

Why does acid rain decrease the pH of some lakes and not others? Explore the role of different bottom materials in keeping the pH of lakes constant.

  • Create mini-lakes with different bottom materials and limestone.
  • Add acid rain to your mini-lakes and test the pH.
  • Determine which lake bottom material is a buffer that keeps the pH of the mini-lake water relatively constant.
Assembled kits
Materials to assemble 10 kits - includes all supplies, printed labels, and student instructions copy master
Materials to refill 10 kits

Kit Includes

  • Student instructions
  • 1 plastic vial of sand
  • 1 plastic vial of limestone
  • Simulated “Acid Rain”
  • 12 strips of pH paper
  • pH color chart
  • 1 dropper
  • 2 stirrers

Also Required

  • Water
  • Safety goggles

Quantity Discounts


  • 1 – 9 kits: $12.95 each
  • 10 – 24 kits: $12.30 each
  • 25+ kits: $11.66 each


  • 1 – 9 packs: $92.95 each
  • 10+ packs: $88.30 each


  • 1 – 9 packs: $40.95 each
  • 10+ packs: $38.90 each

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Shop by NGSS »

Performance Expectations:

HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.

  • Science & Engineering Practices

    Developing and Using Models - Use a model, analyze and interpret data

  • Disciplinary Core Ideas

    LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience - If a biological or physical disturbance to an ecosystem occurs, including one induced by human activity, the ecosystem may return to its more or less original state or become a very different ecosystem, depending on the complex set of interactions within the ecosystem.

    ESS2.A: Earth's Materials and Systems - Earth’s major systems are the geosphere (solid and molten rock, soil, and sediments), the hydrosphere (water and ice), the atmosphere (air), and the biosphere (living things, including humans). These systems interact in multiple ways to affect Earth’s surface materials and processes. The ocean supports a variety of ecosystems and organisms, shapes landforms, and influences climate. Winds and clouds in the atmosphere interact with the landforms to determine patterns of weather.

  • Crosscutting Concepts

    Stability and Change - Students understand much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable. They quantify and model changes in systems over very short or very long periods of time. They see some changes are irreversible, and negative feedback can stabilize a system, while positive feedback can destabilize it. They recognize systems can be designed for greater or lesser stability.

    Systems and System Models - A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions.