Materials List: Bubbling Plants Experiment to Quantify Photosynthesis

  • 5 liters (about 1ΒΌ gallons) of aged tap water (tap water in an open container that has been allowed to sit for 36-48 hours to eliminate the chlorine used in municipal water supplies)
  • 15-20 total Elodea plants; these are hardy freshwater aquarium plants sold in bunches at pet stores and suppliers such as Carolina Biological Supply Company (
  • string, yarn or twist ties for tying Elodea plants into bunches
  • small rocks or similar objects to serve as weights to hold the Elodea plants underwater
  • 500-ml beakers, 1 per team
  • baking soda, a few tablespoons (sodium bicarbonate)
  • timers or watches with second hands, 1 per team
  • small adjustable desk lamps that can be set up so that their light bulbs are a few inches above the beakers and shine vertically down onto them; flashlights with strong beams that are mounted on ring stands also work; 1 light source per team