Clean Enough to Drink

Contributor
Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Programs, University of Houston Mary M. Revia; Hanadi Rifai; Emily Sappington; Mila Taylor National Science Foundation GK-12
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Experiment/Lab Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan , Activity
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

With approximately 1% of water on the planet Earth available for human consumption students will investigate various ways that engineers are working to maintain and conserve water sources. Students will research, design, and build a water filtration device that can clean visible particles from teacher created 'dirty water'.  It is suggested that this engineering activity follow the lesson Fresh or Salty from Teach Engineering where students have already investigated the quality and quantity of water bodies found on the planet Earth. 

 

Intended Audience

- none -
Educational Level
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

5-ESS2-2 Describe and graph the amounts and percentages of water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to oceans, lakes, rivers, glaciers, ground water, and polar ice caps, and does not include the atmosphere.

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
It is suggested to engage all students with phenomena or problems that are meaningful and relevant, students analyze pictures such as this below that show the need for fresh water: http://endwaterpollutionecon.weebly.com/uploads/5/0/0/4/50049099/5872454_orig.jpg What was the photographer trying to say when they took this picture? What is your reaction? To best meet this performance expectation, it is suggested that students participate in Teach Engineering's resource Fresh or Salty prior to this lesson. It is also suggested not to introduce the vocabulary words on day one of this lesson. Instead, the teacher could focus on the science concept of limited supplies of fresh water in the world in the introductory lesson. The students can then build the vocabulary into the lesson as they gradually are exposed to the science concepts.

3-5-ETS1-1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
As students learn about the limited amounts of fresh water on Earth, encourage them to think of ways engineers may be able to filter the water we already have to make it drinkable for the areas of the world that need fresh water. To best meet this performance expectation, the instructor could clearly build in the vocabulary 'constraints' and 'criteria' when describing the activity to the students. The criteria of this engineering activity is to filter visible particles from dirty water by creating a water filtration device for the International Space Station using only the materials provided by the teacher (constraints). Although certain materials will be available for use, students are encouraged as teams to prepare their lists and decide what materials and specific quantities they want to use. Two liter plastic bottles should be only cut by the teacher ahead of time.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The criteria of this engineering activity is to filter visible particles from dirty water by creating a water filtration device for the International Space Station using only the materials provided by the teacher (constraints).

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
To best meet this disciplinary core idea it is suggested students read One Well: The Story of Water on Earth (Citizen Kid) by Rochelle Strauss. This resource also includes a web site for students to further investigate where fresh water is found under Activity Extensions. https://www.epa.gov/environmental-topics/water-topics As students are reading, encourage them to think about conservation and the importance of water so they can find meaning in Earth's limited water supply as they begin to design and create their own water filtration system.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students are encouraged throughout the investigation to discuss ideas their group can use to make their water look as clear as possible. Students will be brainstorming ways to filter objects through layers of materials as they work together to decide what materials and how much of each material they will use.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
To best integrate this crosscutting concept, it is encouraged to have the students understand that the Earth is part of a system where the hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and geosphere interact, with focus on the hydrosphere. It is also suggested to include in instruction how the water filtration unit the students are designing is a system where the different parts interact to help filter the water.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
To best meet this crosscutting concept, students are reminded to take notes and record materials measurements throughout the process. Students are encouraged to measure quantities in metric units.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Students will be using science and engineering practices as well as crosscutting concepts to make sense of phenomena. Students are designing a solution to the important real world necessity of fresh water. If using the suggested tips, the focus of this lesson supports students in making sense of all three dimensions. To best meet the Disciplinary Core Ideas of this lesson it is strongly suggested to use this lesson to build upon Fresh and Salty also by Teach Engineering where students will investigate the amounts and locations of all water on Earth.

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson engages students in an authentic and meaningful scenario from the real world. Facts and terminology are learned as needed while developing explanations and designing solutions that are supported by evidence based arguments and reasoning. Students are given opportunities to express, interpret and reflect upon their ideas. Differentiated instruction is included under activity scaling with ideas for lower and higher grades.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Guiding questions are included throughout the activity as well as an aligned rubric to help in planning instruction and feedback to students. It should be noted that the rubric leans more toward group cooperation and attentiveness during class work. It is suggested to develop the rubric more toward the science and engineering investigation. Activity extensions and post-activity assessment questions are included with this resource.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not include an interactive technological component.