Giving Water the Treatment

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
In this ecology activity (page 8 of the PDF), learners explore how to filter contaminated water using a variety of materials. They discover that the water they drink goes through a long process to ensure its cleanliness. Although this was created as a pre-visit activity for a workshop about the formation of various landforms, it also makes an excellent stand-alone activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Foam Cup
  • Clear Plastic Cups
  • Paper Towel
  • Alum (Available From Drugstore)
  • Yellow Food Coloring to Simulate Chlorine
  • Dirt
  • Control Cup
  • Access to Water
  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Bowl


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Environmental Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Human Impact

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, COSI Columbus, 2009