Be a Plumber

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

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In this activity (located on page 6 of the PDF), learners explore the ways people access water in their homes. Learners investigate the way that water moves through a system and use problem solving skills to design a would-be working system. With pipe cleaners as "pipes," learners "install" a plumbing system in a "house" (diagram). Different color pipe cleaners are used to represent hot and cold water and drainage pipes, and learners must determine how to flow water to various fixtures in the building.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per student)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
    • Technology
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science as a Career
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Chicago Children's Museum, 2008