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Ocean Acidification

Grade: 6-8

Lesson Time: 1-1.5 hours, over two days

Materials Required:

Activity 1:

  • Large jar
  • Egg
  • Vinegar (acetic acid)

Activity 2:

  • Water
  • Beaker (or clear plastic cup)
  • Drinking straw
  • Aquarium pH test kit solution
  • Crushed coral or seashells


When carbon dioxide is dissolved in water, carbonic acid forms and the pH drops. Increases in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere threaten to change our climate. However, evidence suggests that this increase in carbon dioxide can lead to lowering the pH in our oceans, a process called ocean acidification. This lesson looks at the process, the factors involved in, and the effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms.

Key Concepts:

  • pH
  • Chemical change
  • Ocean acidification
  • Effects of changing pH on aquatic life
  • Climate change


  • Demonstrate how pH in water is lowered with the addition of CO2
  • Show the effects of lower pH on the calcium carbonate exoskeletons or shells of marine animals

Activity download: Ocean_Acidification

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