STEM ready

Water, Clean Water

Driving or Multi-dimensional Question:

Given a problem, students will imagine themselves as real estate investors for a new subdivision along the Cumberland River. The problem is the tract of land is not within reach of a public water source. Students must design and present a treatment for water from the Cumberland River.

Could also be adapted to a question of survival in a camping situation.

Unit Summary:

Students will discover how water from its natural source is cleared of it solutes. Students will gather samples of water from the natural source and asked to “clean” the water of its dissolved and undissolved contaminates.

Hook Event:

Students will observe water from its natural source (The Cumberland River) and from the faucet in the classroom. Students will work in collaborative groups to “clean” the source water in an attempt to get it as clean as the faucet water.

Culminating Event:

Students will construct an argument for the separation method which they choose. This argument must be supported by data gathered from the first separation testing, second separation testing situation, field trip or guest speaker.


Science Standards:

CHEM1.PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
7) Analyze solutions to identify solutes and solvents and perform separation methods such as evaporation, distillation, and/or chromatography and show conceptual understanding of distillation. Construct an argument to justify the use of certain separation methods under different conditions.

Math Standards:

ELA and Other Standards:

11-12.L.CSE.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking; consider complex and contested matters of usage and convention.

Daily Activities

For more information on this lesson please see the Lesson Resources below

 ActivitiesResources and Materials
Activity One

1. Gather water samples from the Cumberland River
2. Devise a plan to separate the water from the contaminates. Hand-out or lab posting at 

3.Write a technical procedure for the set-up of the purifiers include pictures
4. Test the plan
5.Guest speaker survivalist water in the wild
6.Field trip to the water treatment facility
7.Redesign plan and test new plan
8.Revise technical plan and re-test water samples
9. Test water with water testing kits for “cleanness”
10. Prepare an argument to defend the process of “cleaning” the water
11. Present argument.

Samples of water from The Cumberland River

Samples of faucet water
Water testing kits
Aluminum foil
ring stands
chromatography strips
aquarium charcoal

Technology Integration: Students will use google docs to document the design- test- retest cycle and record data. This will be the platform for posting the technical plan. It will also be the platform for documenting the effectiveness of the process.

Community PartnersContribution to Learning ExperienceContact Information
Water Department of GainesboroField trip to the water treatment facilityJerry Rhoten
Outdoor ExperienceGuest speaker – filter straws and distillation setsSawyer Campbell

Capstone Presentation:

Students will build a google presentation of the cycle of designing a test, testing, redesigning a test and retesting. Students will defend the tests or processes they used to “clean” the water. Students may use video/ videos in the presentation.

Lesson Resources