Water As Clean As the USA’s Toilets

As we all know, water quality around the world is an important issue. There are many countries who don’t have clean water to drink while we have “clean” water in our toilets. Here at the St. Vrain Valley School district, our 6th graders have a curriculum unit focused on water circulation, distribution and pollution. My students were given a challenge this year that changed most of their lives forever.


At this point my students have had the skills and knowledge base of the middle school water standards. I challenged them to research a foreign country and a state within the USA that has poor water quality.  Then, they had to brainstorm a way to create a water filtration system that would help that area of need, although, I didn’t make it that easy. I dropped in a loop, they had limited supplies and monies to work with to create their functional filter. The students were shocked because in their design challenges thus far they could have unlimited supplies to use.


In the end, the students created functional water filters that would have to filtrate very dirty water, created by me. I used coffee grounds, sand, potting soil and human hair to make the water filthy! The students were disgusted which was a perfect time to talk about the real pollution that affects their researched countries water. The students had 15 minutes to filter as much water as they could into a cup. Many of them failed and had to reiterate their prototype but their were a few who succeed in cleaning the water. The students shared their thoughts about the challenge to each other as they completed their design challenge.



For more information, here is a link to the design challenge overview. Water Quality Design Challenge