This summer you should teach your kids about the The Carbon Cycle with a Bottle Ecosystem
A bottle ecosystem is a fantastic way to teach your kids how the population of planets interact these are great for class projects or science fairs here is one of the simple aquatic ecosystems you will have fun making.
What you will Need
You will need a 2 or 3 litter bottle
you will need planets
your choice of fish,snails,tadpoles
you can easily go to your local aquarium store if you like and purchase this all or if you are close to a river or a pond that would be a great place to get all of your materials.
I recommend you bring a bucket to the pond or river to get the water that way you get all the microorganisms presented in your ecosystem. And if you are going in to the Aquarium store tell them you are doing a bottle ecosystem and they will be able to help you with water and all the other things you will need .
If you have none of these options you can use Tap Water let sit 24 hours before using other wise the chlorine in the water will kill your fish and snails , and microorganisms in your ecosystems.Where ever you get your water make sure it is at room temperature before adding your organisms.
In order to make your ecosystem closer to the earth you will need small rocks are gravel wash them to get of contaminants before you put them in there.
This is just dead planet matter you will only need a little so maybe just a leaf for the microorganism to feed on. If you use to much planet matter it can cause your ecosystem to crash.
Here is how to build your Ecosystem
put your water in the bottle remember if is tap water to let set 24 hours
Next add your rocks and a dead leaf
Next add your planet strands one at a time
Next is your snails
Now Add your fish you will only need one for your ecosystem
Now you will let your ecosystem sit 24 hours before you put the lid back on
Where to put your ecosystem
light is a essential part of a ecosystem.Without light planets and animals would die. You will need to put your ecosystem where their will be direct sunlight fore a few hours every day. You will also want to put it where it can not get knock over by pets are any thing else and where it will be able to observe easily.
Things you will Observe
Bubbles of oxygen coming from the elodea
New Leaves on a planet
Fish searching for food
You and your kids will have a great time with this project enjoy
Here is a few more Resources you might like that I found searching
http://www.mommyhotspot.com/ecosystem-a-great-experiment-for-the-older-kids/ This site has another way to make the ecosystem
http://creationislove.com/what-causes-a-perfect-ecosystem/ Something to share with the kids that they will find cool Here is a pic of what this link is about 40 year old ecosystem
http://www.pinterest.com/lauren5080/ecosystem-ideas/ you can find study packets here