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Creating a Mini Closed Ecosystem at Home!

Oakley collected some sediment and water from our creek and added a piece of wood with moss in it at the top of the mason jar. We closed the jar and she made the hypothesis that we would see some life(either from the water, or the moss.) Today we found life swimming around! 😊 🐛

I asked her how she thought the life would thrive in a closed jar without oxygen. She said that the plant (moss) would provide oxygen if we put it in the sun.) - a 6 year olds explanation and understanding of photosynthesis and the carbon cycle 🙌🏻🥰

Plants are a good starting point when looking at the carbon cycle on Earth. Plants have a process called photosynthesis that enables them to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and combine it with water. Using the energy of the Sun, plants make sugars and oxygen molecules. All of the non-photosynthetic creatures on the planet use the oxygen. Every creature on the planet uses the sugars and starches created by plants.

Animals are the non-photosynthetic creatures of the planet. They are not able to create their own food. Instead, they eat plants or other animals. The sugars and starches they eat are broken down by a process of metabolism. The results are energy for the creature, water, and carbon dioxide molecules. The carbon dioxide then returns to the atmosphere where the plants use it.

Oakley has unintentionally created a “closed ecosystem” going off of her haunch and curiosity. This system will thrive and sustain itself without aid from the outside.

ETA: our friends are Detritus worms, named after what they thrive on. Detritus is dead particulate organic material, as distinguished from dissolved organic material.The Naididae are a family of clitellate oligochaete worms like the sludge worm, Tubifex tubifex. They are key components of the benthic communities of many freshwater and marine ecosystems. In freshwater aquaria they may be referred to as detritus worms.

Want to make your own?

Head down to a water source (creek, pond, puddle) and collect your sample. We used Mason style jar. Make sure you get a good amount of substrate.

After you collect your substrate and water, look in he woods for some moss! You can set it right on top to float.

Place your jar in a sunny spot! Wait a bit and keep checking your jar. You will see the water turn a yellowish color and tiny bubbles on your plant source, this is your carbon cycle beginning!

You may or may not have creatures, but you will definitely be able to observe the carbon cycle and photosynthesis as well as a mini water cycle show! <3

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