Monday, November 18, 2013


November 18, 2013


Our ecosystem is doing worse than the week before despite the hole that we put in it. We observed that the plant stems are very transparent and brown along with the leaves. There is one stem that is a light green and has two baby leaves sprouting from the middle. We spotted 9 snails, which is the same from last week. One of the elodea is brown and the other one is still green. The water level is the exact same as last week even though we opened the system. The soil looks a little lower. And again, there was no spotted daphnia. The condensation on the top portion was less than last time and there was more condensation on the bottom portion. 

Closing Remarks:

Future Research:

  • How does the amount of soil put in the beginning affect the health of the overall system (especially the top portion)?
  • How does the amount of each organism affect a closed ecosystem?
  • How does adding worms to the soil affect the ecosystem?
  • How does the amount of sunlight affect a closed ecosystem?
  • How does the ecosystem change over a longer period of time (6 months, 1 year, etc)?
Use in future classes:
Using this in an elementary classroom, students can learn about different aspects of ecosystems and the roles of organisms at all grade levels. The degree in which the students analyze the data will vary depending on the grade level. For younger grades it is a great way to learn how to take data and learn from personally observing their own experiments. Also, for younger grades you can use a class ecosystem where you observe as a whole group and record observations.  For the younger grades you can focus on one aspect of the ecosystem (water cycle, carbon cycle, etc). For older students, this is a great way to observe the more complex concepts involved within the ecosystem. For a more detailed analysis, students might need to be exposed to some background information - for example food webs and roles of each organism. Before starting this experiment, the teacher should go over how to properly collect data and how to focus on small details. Also, everyday observations can help students collect data on the small changes made on a daily basis.

Results and Future Changes:
We believe that our ecosystem did not have success, especially on the top, is because the amount of soil was too low. We think that the plants did not have enough nutrients due to the low soil levels. We also think that the ecosystem did not receive an adequate amount of sunlight to survive. We would suggest changes for next time to include putting more soil to begin with. We believe that more soil gives the plants more nutrients and there will not be a chance of running out of those nutrients. Comparing our systems to Michele's ecosystem led us to believe this to be true. Michele's ecosystem has a significant amount more of soil compared to ours and hers seems to be much more healthy. Another change we would do would be to put marks on the bottle at the very beginning at the soil and water levels. Doing so would help us better observe how those levels changed throughout the weeks. Also, we would change the amount of sunlight that our ecosystem received. We would place it in more direct sunlight and see the affect that would have.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


November 11, 2013


Our ecosystem is really not doing so well. At this point, all of our leaves are withering. The stems and leaves of each have turned to a transparent, brown color. Our condensation level seems to have increased from last week. Last week, only one stem was starting to brown. This week, all three stems look sickly. Even our newest plant that was starting to grown within the past few weeks isn't looking too great. One of our elodea plants has turned a bright yellow color. We are not entirely sure why this has happened, but it differs from the rest of the elodea. 


A weird spot forming on the wall of our bottle.

Here you can see the health of our leaves.

All three stems are beginning to brown. 

Although our elodea seems to be healthy, one plant is more yellow than the others. 


We are hoping to see some changes in our ecosystem next week. However, these changes could be good or bad. We placed a hole in the top bottle of our system in hopes to create a better flow of oxygen. We were losing hope in our ecosystem, so we were ready to test some variables to see what might happen. Look back next week to see what happened to our ecosystem!

This is the hole we made in the top of our bottle.

Monday, November 4, 2013


November 4, 2013


From last week to this week, our plant has seemed to wither even more. The same stem is still very brown, while the others are green. However, more of the leaves are browning and transparent. There are only one or two green leaves left on our plant. The rest of the leaves aren't looking so great. We spotted eight snails, but we didn't see any daphnia. Our water has become a lot more murky, so it would be hard to tell daphnia from random floaters anyway. We have four elodea plants in our water. Three of our elodea plants look just as healthy as ever, while one elodea plant is starting to brown. Altogether, our ecosystem is starting to look a bit weathered. 


Here you can see that most of our leaves are brown and transparent, while one or two leaves thrive.

In this picture you can see the one brown elodea plant. You can also see a few of the snails that are living in our ecosystem. I'm not sure if you can see that poor water quality through this photo.


At this point, we are worried what condition our plant will be in next week!

Monday, October 28, 2013


October 28, 2013 


Due to the fact that we had a class field trip last week, we were not able to perform observations for a week. Although our ecosystem didn't change drastically, there were some changes from our last observation. For example, one of our stems has become very brown and transparent. The other two stems are fairly green and healthy-looking, as all three were last week. As for our elodea: last time, it was very green and healthy. This week, we found some of the elodea starting to brown. One major thing we noticed this week was the soil characteristics. The soil seems to be drier and at a lower level than two weeks ago. Our water seemed to be much murkier than our last observation, which made it impossible to spot any daphnia (although we haven't seen any in weeks!) Our snails still seem to be producing and thriving in our ecosystem.


Here you can see our leaves starting to wither very quickly. 

One out of our three stems has also begin to turn brown.
Our once healthy elodea is starting to look a little sick.

However, our snails seem to be doing really well in our ecosystem.


For next week, we predict that there will be some more gradual changes. We feel that the leaves of the plant and the elodea might continue to brown. The condensation has been getting more and more dense, so we think that this might continue to happen. We are really starting to worry about the health of our ecosystem because of the water and soil quality. We are afraid that our ecosystem might be in even worse condition next week.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


October 14, 2013


Plant Quality:

  • New baby leaves (very green)
  • Other leaves are very brown
  • Stem is lighter green than normal


  • Eight snails spotted

Water Quality:

  • Murky


  • None spotted


  • Light, but heavier than last observation.


  • Healthy
  • Roots coming out
Here you can see two snails, our healthy elodea, and murky water.


October 7, 2013


Plant Growth

  • Leaves very discolored
  • Plants dying
  • Root coming down into the water


  • None spotted


  • Less dense

Water quality

  • Murky


  • Healthy


  • Five snails spotted


Monday, September 30, 2013


September 30, 2013 


Plant Growth:

  • Leaves have started to turn yellow


  • 1 spotted


  • A little less than last week

Water Quality:

  • Even murkier


  • Really healthy
  • Grown bigger and greener
  • We spotted a root floating by the elodea


  • We now spotted 4 or 5 new snails! YAY!