Checking fertilizer levels in Buckeye Lake

Scott Logsdon of Bexley High School had great things to say about Ohio Corn & Wheat’s 2 day summer workshop. “What a great summer workshop this was! Definitely a highlight for me and I am excited to see what you will offer this coming summer.”

The Lawn Chemicals activity fit well with the AP Biology class discussion on deadzones, eutrophication and runoff. Logsdon had students do a lake attenuation and temperature lab with Buckeye Lake water, measuring gross and net productivity to master their technique of sampling Dissolved Oxygen using the HACH method. Thanks to OCW’s generous supply kit for teachers who attended the workshop, Logsdon received a sample Dissolved Oxygen kit. This allowed him to quickly measure DO at a lab group if they were having trouble or to double-check group data quickly.

The following week students designed a lab to answer the question of “Does fertilizer increase productivity of a body of water?” using a new sample of Buckeye Lake water. They had to do the dimensional analysis to bring the fertilizer down to 300ml and test for both gross and net productivity. Logsdon commented, “Of course one thing that homeowners do is over-fertilize their yards and that is where this new activity came in! It was awesome and the students enjoyed it.”

Teams of two or three students had to do the calculations and set the spreader correctly, and they noticed how little fertilizer they needed to apply. Many predicted that if a homeowner did not calculate they would absolutely over-fertilize their yards. They also noted that people tend to buy a big bag and feel like they needed to use it all without calculating the correct amount. Design and using mathematical process are important objectives with the AP College Board.

Logsdon said the workshop was “phenomenal! I picked up so much great information from environmental to biothechnology, and really enjoyed all the labs.” He plans to use more of these activities in his instruction this year, and will be using what he learned about soil science with his environmental club kids in preparation for the Envirothon competition this spring.

Mark Sunderman at Legacy Co Op donated seed corn and gave Logsdon’s school a spreader to use in the lawn fertilizer activity. Logsdon met Sunderman at the industry dinner and greatly appreciated his generosity and support.

Want to get great lessons like this and supplies for your classroom? Check out our events page to see what workshops are being offered.