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This is an activity about turbidity, or the amount of sediment suspended in water. Learners will discover how this important characteristic affects aquatic life as they observe different water qualities. Supplies are simple and can be found around the house. Included are suggestions for taking the activity further and into nature. This activity could also be used in an environmental science curriculum by asking the question, do humans have impact on the turbidity of lakes and streams? [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org. Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]If the answer is yes, how so?

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • 2 sheets of black construction paper
  • 1 sheet of white paper
  • Tape
  • Large, clear glass jar
  • Empty soda can or jar lid
  • Flashlight
  • Dirt
  • Water


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Human Impact
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemistry of Life
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • TryScience