Man’s Impact on the Environment Topic
Acid Rain – Causes and its Effects

This science revision note aims to help your child understand the effects of acid rain (and how to explain them clearly).

 

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Question (Source: Anglo Chinese School (Primary) 2019 P6 SA2 Q38)

Sometimes rain mixes with pollutants in the air to form acid rain. David wants to investigate the effects of acid rain on stone X.

He collected four beakers of rainwater from four different locations, P, Q R and S. he added an identical piece of stone X to each beaker of rainwater and recorded its mass after a month. The graph shows the results.

(a) David used the same volume of rainwater for each of his set-ups. How does this ensure a fair test?

STEP 1 – Recall

What makes a test fair?

A fair test is one with only one changed variable.

The aim of the experiment here is to find out how rainwater from locations, P, Q R and S affects the mass of the stone.

Therefore, the only change variable should be different locations from which the rainwater are obtained.

STEP 2 – What Science topics are tested?

Recognise and identify what the changed variable should be in a fair test.

    • This can usually be deduced from the aim of the experiment.

STEP 3 – Piecing your answer together

(a) David used the same volume of rainwater for each of his set-ups. How does this ensure a fair test?

Answer

This is to ensure the experiment has only one changed variable which is the location where the rainwater is obtained. Using the  same volume of water ensures that the change in mass of the stone is only affected by the location in which the rainwater is obtained and not due to the volume of rainwater.

 

(b) Based on the results, which location, P, Q, R or S, would be most suitable to display a statue made from stone X? Explain why.

STEP 1 – Recall

Keywords in the question:

  • Acid rain
  • Statue

 

STEP 2 – What Science topics are tested?

Recognise the effect of acid rain.

    • Corrode buildings and outdoor structures.

 

How is acid rain formed?

Factories, power plants and vehicles release untreated/chemical fumes into the atmosphere. These harmful chemicals get carried by the wind and mix with the rainwater when it rains. Falling rain then becomes acid rain. Acid rain is corrosive and damages the surface of many buildings over time. Acid rain also collects in water bodies and causes the water habitat to become acidic. Aquatic organisms that cannot adapt to the change in acidity of the water will die.

 

Refer to this video (Note: Gases such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are not in the PSLE syllabus. All the student needs to know is the harmful chemicals / toxic substances or air pollutants can potentially cause acid rain.)

STEP 3 – Piecing your answer together

(b) Based on the results, which location, P, Q, R or S, would be most suitable to display a statue made from stone X? Explain why.

 

Answer

Location R would be the most suitable.

The mass of stone X after 1 month is the greatest in the rainwater from location R compared to other locations.

The rainwater from location R is the least acidic. When placed in location R, the statue can last the longest with the least corrosion.

 

 

 

Common mistakes

Wrong answers: The mass of stone X after 1 month in the rainwater from location R did not change much.

The answer above is lacking comparison. Please remember to compare.

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