Measuring the pH of the Soil and Water 

*This activity requires the use of filter paper and special paper strips that measure pH.  If these are not available to you, contact us and we will send you some.

Information about pH

Materials you will need:  pH paper, filter paper, two small paper cups, straw or stirring rod, ruler, distilled water, spoon, small plastic bags or containers with tops

Procedure to follow:
    In the Field
1. Collect some soil or water samples from more than one location in your biotic community.
   Use the spoon to put the soil sample into the plastic bag, one sample per bag.
   For a water sample, just put the container into the water source and collect the sample.
2. Seal up each container and write the location where the sample came from on the container.
3. Take the soil and water samples back to the classroom.

    In the Classroom
**Do this part of the experiment in front of the computer.
   You will need to see certain instructions and pictures

1. If you are testing water, pour each sample into a different cup and go directly to step #12.
   For soil go to step #2.
2. Turn the piece of filter paper into a cone.  Click here for instructions.
3. When you are finished, set the cone aside until step #8.
4. Empty one of the soil samples into a paper cup.
    Put in enough to cover the entire bottom of the cup.
5. Add enough distilled water to the cup to go over the soil by one centimeter.
6. Mix the soil and water.
7. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
8. Open the cone and place it into the second, empty cup.
9. Pour the liquid part of the soil/water mixture into the cone.
10. Liquid will filter through the cone leaving solid material behind.
11. Throw the soil and filter paper cone away.
12. Click here to go to the pH color chart.
     When it appears on your screen, continue with step 13.
13. While holding one end of the pH paper, dip the other end into the liquid in the cup.
      IMMEDIATELY bring the wet end up and compare colors to the chart.
14. Write down the pH number and throw away the pH paper.
15. Do these steps for EACH soil sample you have.  Record all data.

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