Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Settle Down: Turbidity and Water Quality

4. Analyze Your Data

Summarizing and analyzing your data are as important as collecting the information from your experiment. Your analysis may help you develop future experiments and also help you shape potential solutions to environmental issues, such as storm water runoff, erosion, and watershed pollution.

Draw a bar graph for each time period, each bar with 3 sections corresponding to the three water levels. Use different shades of crayon to represent Clear, Somewhat Clear, and Cloudy water.

Use your student worksheet “Turbidity Data” and “Building Background Knowledge” to discuss your results with your class and brainstorm possible solutions to problems related to sediment, runoff and watershed pollution in your local community.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What happened in your experiment? Did the sediment sink, float, dissolve, or stay suspended in the water? Did your predictions match your observed results?
  2. Did students in your class have different results to their turbidity tests? Why would their results have been different or the same as yours? Do you think that different kinds of soil respond differently in this turbidity experiment? Why or why not?
  3. Based on your observations, how do you think sediment will affect plants and animals in a watershed?
  4. How would you predict that sediment will affect the watershed downstream?
  5. Can you list places where erosion will be a problem in a watershed? Describe your reasons for including items on your list.
  6. What are some possible solutions to erosion and to the problems that might be caused by turbidity in a watershed?