Students thoroughly enjoy building ecocolumns. The supplies here are for an ecocolumn with three chambers: A terrestrial chamber on the top with soil, plants and invertebrates, a filter chamber with sand and gravel, and an aquatic chamber with fish and water plants.
I begin Ecocolumns the 3rd week of school in the fall. To prepare, I ask students to bring in 1 gallon “Crystal Geyser” water bottles. They can be empty or full. I like the water bottles, because they are sturdier than 2-liter soda bottles, don’t tip over as easily, and many families don’t drink soda anymore. (But, many teachers still use soda bottles just fine) Students can donate the purified water in buckets which can be used later on in lab. You can also ask teachers to donate bottles as many teachers at my school bring water for their own use in their classrooms.
Students need 3 bottles to build, but I always have them bring 4, because many need a spare for a mistake cutting the bottles.
I’m not very strong and can hurt my back easily, so I drag my teenage sons with me to buy supplies. Since I teach 5 sections of APES with 9 groups of students per class, that’s 45 ecocolumns to buy for.