Day 2: Conductivity Connection: Road Salt & Electrolytes


Students will use a conductivity probe to compare conductivity data between sport drinks and stream water containing road salt to identify safe levels of electrolytes in both substances.

Lesson Overview

Students learn why increased conductivity can be a good or a bad thing. Students will learn how to use a conductivity probe and what conductivity ranges are appropriate for different substances. They will measure conductivity in 4 clear liquids and use their knowledge of conductivity to identify the sports drink, water from a forested stream, water from an urban stream, and tap water.

1 class period
  • Conductivity probe
  • Cups
  • Clear sports drinks
  • Stream water from a forested stream
  • Stream water from an urban stream

Pass out handouts and show attached powerpoint presentation. Ask students how you can figure out if the conductivity level found in each of the four liquids is SAFE for each specific category (tap water, sports drink, urban stream, and forested stream).


In teams of 3, students will take turns using the conductivity probe to collect a reading for each mystery sample (clear sports drinks, water from a forested stream, water from an urban stream, and tap water).  Students will plot their measurements on the included chart and determine which sample is which based upon their observations.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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