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Decomposition Column Investigations

Experiment #18 from Investigating Environmental Science through Inquiry

Education Level
High School


In this experiment, you will use a Decomposition Column and probeware as you investigate decomposition and related concepts. CO2 Gas Sensors, Light Probes, Relative Humidity Sensors, pH Sensors, Temperature Probes, and other sensors can be used to collect meaningful data in Decomposition Column investigations.


In the Preliminary Activity, you will gain experience using a pH Sensor and learn pH measuring technique as you determine the pH of a water sample.

After completing the Preliminary Activity, you will first use reference sources to find out more about the decomposition and related concepts before you choose and investigate a researchable question.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.


Teaching to an educational standard? This experiment supports the standards below.

International Baccalaureate (IB)/Environmental Systems and Societies
5.1 Introduction to soil systems
International Baccalaureate (IB) 2025/Biology
C4.2.5—Supply of energy to decomposers as carbon compounds in organic matter coming from dead organisms

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This experiment is #18 of Investigating Environmental Science through Inquiry. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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