IntroBottle BasicsTool BoxBuilding BlocksReference Links
Column InvestigationsHanging Bottle InvestigationsHome
Observe Your Decomposition Column

Recording data: Once you’ve decided how to fill your column, carefully observe what you put inside. In a notebook, describe the color, texture, smell and shape of everything you put in the bottle. Weigh everything before it goes into the column.

Schedule column checks for at least once a week to record changes. Note changes in the column contents' height, color, shape, texture and odor. Hold a ruler next to the column to record changes in the height of the contents. Insert a thermometer from the top of the column to determine temperature changes. Can you figure out the rate of change? You can also test the pH of the leachate (the solution that drips through the column) or use it in a bioassay for more on pH.

Is anything moving?: Look for the appearance of any "critters," such as flies, beetles, slugs, millipedes, or snails. Decomposition Columns offer good opportunities for observation and description. Try using photographs or drawings to record changes. Write a story about what is going on in your column. What do you predict will happen during decomposition?

National Science Foundation   Bottle Biology, an instructional materials development program, was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation administered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   Wisconsin Fast Plants