Shortcut Navigation:

Salt And Living Things

DOWNLOADS 

Salt in Our Lives lesson plan

PDF

DOC

Salt in Our Lives investigation booklet

PDF

DOC

salt crystal
image credit: Mark Schellhase 

LESSON PLAN

(Time required: about 46 minutes)

Students will learn how salt affects living things, at the cellular, organismal and ecosystem level.

1. Introduce how salt affects living and non-living things. (1 minute)

"Yesterday, we watched the Science Bulletin based on Dr. Kaushal’s work.  We also discussed why road salt is used to melt snow and ice. Today we are going to look more closely at how added salt affects living things."

2. Students predict the effect of salt on tomato plants. (5 minutes)

3. Demonstrate salting the eggplant. (10 minutes)
salted eggplant

Demonstration

Salt and Plant Cells

Salting an eggplant demonstrates the effect of salt on plant cells. 


4. Ask the students to review ecosystem fact sheets and complete in pairs the graphic organizer. (15 minutes)

5. Complete the Salt Level demonstration as a "front of the class" demonstration or as a short laboratory exercise. (5 minutes)
Salt Levels main image

Demonstration

Salt Level Demonstration

What appears to be very little salt can cause big environmental changes like changing freshwater to saltwater.


6.  Ask students to reflect on what they have learned from the salt and ecosystem case studies. (5 minutes)

Have students reflect on the previous activities to discuss how salt affects different organisms.


7. Complete the Exploring Salt in Our Lives section of the Investigation Booklet. (5 minutes)
Summary/Assessment:  Ask students to complete the Exploring Salt in Our Lives section of the Investigation Booklet, available in the Downloads section on this page.
Optional Extensions

Inquiry Lab:  Have students create a procedure for an inquiry laboratory exercise based on the question “What level of salt will start affecting the growth of plants or algae?”  Provide students with supplies for the lab, which for the most part can be purchased in a grocery store (algae can be purchased from scientific supply stores). Make sure that students include a control group in their experimental design (i.e. a plant or algae that receives regular tap water or rain water with no extra added salt).   

Regents Lab:  The osmosis red-onion lab required for the NYS Living Environment Regents Examination is a possible extension to this lesson and/or unit. 

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am - 5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Maps and Directions