Day 2 &3: Micropipetting I: Carbonation Investigation

In this one to two day lab, students investigate how carbonation affects the pH of water while learning micropipetting technique. The lab opens with students thinking and asking questions about a ubiquitous beverage: sparkling water. Next, students learn the mechanics of using a micropipette with the helpful acronym ‘EFIRST’ and practice their technique by making ‘micropipette art.’ Next, students apply their micropipetting skills to determine the pH of various water samples, including different sparkling waters. They use this data, as well as information about the science of ‘carbonation,’ to explain how carbonation affects water’ in a ‘Claim, Evidence, Reasoning’ format. This lesson can be extended by having students explore ocean acidification caused by rising CO2 levels. To further students’ mastry of micropipetting, see “Micropipetting II: Setting the Volume” for practice with reading the dial and setting the volume of different micropipettes.



Learning Objectives

  • Learn micropipetting technique to measure small volumes
  • Make a claim about how carbonation affects water using evidence collected from an investigation.

Prior Knowledge

  • Familiarity with acids, bases, and pH
  • Relationship between atoms and molecules
  • Using a “Claim, Evidence, Reasoning” format for constructing a scientific explanation may be helpful for students prior to using the lesson resources

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Disciplinary Core Ideas:

LS2.B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems “…carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and geosphere through chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes”

LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience “…anthropogenic changes (induced by human activity) in the environment…can disrupt an ecosystem…”

Science and Engineering Practices:

Constructing Explanations

Crosscutting Concepts:


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Paradise Valley HS
Phoenix, AZ

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Burton HS
San Francisco, CA

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Lincoln HS
San Francisco, CA

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Burlingame HS
Burlingame, CA

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Glenbrook South HS
Glenview, IL

Well organized and scaffolded; flexible structure and can be used partially or as a whole. This unit can be used as is...superbly written and thought out...incorporates many skills and allows student collaboration and student choice/voice.

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South San Francisco HS
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