Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity students will explore the processes through which water is made safe for drinking. Students will observe teacher demonstrations around the various processes involved in treating water, and will also work in groups to conduct an experiment around one of the stages of water treatment. This activity requires considerable preparation and resources, but is simple and effective to run. This activity has been adapted from Scientist in Residence Program (scientistinresidence.ca).

Learning goals:

  • Students will observe multiple water treatment processes.
  • Students will set up processes that simulate water treatment.
  • Students understand the process needed to create clean drinking water.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 5 Science

  • Decide which variable should be changed and measured in fair tests and accurately observe, measure and record data, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS087)
  • Construct and use a range of representations, including tables and graphs, to represent and describe observations, patterns or relationships in data using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS090)
  • Compare data with predictions and use as evidence in developing explanations (ACSIS218)

Year 6 Science

  • Decide which variable should be changed and measured in fair tests and accurately observe, measure and record data, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS104)
  • Construct and use a range of representations, including tables and graphs, to represent and describe observations, patterns or relationships in data using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS107)
  • Compare data with predictions and use as evidence in developing explanations (ACSIS221) 

Syllabus OutcomesST3-4WS

Topic: Water

Year levels: 5 and 6

Indoor or outdoor activity: Indoor

Time required: 45+ mins – this activity could be carried out over two sessions.

Learning areas addressed: Science.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Lead students in activities and ask questions throughout the activities.

Resources required: You will need different resources for teacher demonstrations, for group experiments and for each student. See teacher worksheet for full list of resources required.

Homework and extension opportunities: None.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Australia has a very clean water supply. When water is collected in dams from forested catchments it needs very little treatment. However, when the water comes from rivers or underground it needs a lot more treatment.

Most places in the world are not as fortunate as Australia. Those countries that can’t afford to treat polluted water have serious health problems. By providing these people with clean water, thousands of lives are saved - particularly young children.

Around most of the world and some areas in Australia, water needed for drinking can become polluted.  Consequently, before we can consume the water from these sources we must first clean it.

Water treatment plants typically clean water by taking it through the following processes: (1) aeration, (2) coagulation, (3) sedimentation, (4) filtration, and (5) disinfection. In this activity students will experiment with the first four of these steps through both classroom demonstrations and group experiments

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Student Worksheet

Worksheet 1.

Filtration experiment procedure

Work through the instructions below to set up and conduct your water filtration experiment. Record the results on your Recording Sheet.

For this experiment your group will need:

  • 8 x 2 litre soft drink bottles/li>
  • Wire mesh (to cover the mouth of each bottle)
  • Duct tape
  • 4 x rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Recording sheet
  • 4 x 1 litre clear measuring containers
  • 4 x clamps to hold filtration units
  • 4 types of filtration materials:
    • clean rocks, larger than pebbles (may rinse with clean water in advance);
    • clean pebbles of varying sizes (may rinse with clean water in advance);
    • coarse, clean sand (may rinse with clean water in advance);
    • fine, clean sand (may rinse with clean water in advance).

1. Using scissors, carefully remove the base from both bottles, and the top from one bottle so that all you have is a plastic cylinder. Tape the cylinder to the other plastic bottle using duct tape and secure the unit vertically with the tapered

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