Wetland Filter Model

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In this quick activity (located on page 2 of the PDF under GPS Wetlands Activity), learners will model how wetlands act as natural filters for the environment. Learners prepare a mixture of water, soil, gravel, and leaves and then pour it down a piece of artificial grass, observing how much gets trapped in the fake grass and comparing water at the bottom with the initial “polluted” sample. Relates to the linked video, DragonflyTV GPS: Wetlands.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • water
  • gravel
  • soil
  • crushed leaves
  • a 500 mL beaker
  • 3 - 25mL beakers
  • a spoon or stirring rod
  • a paint tray
  • a piece of outdoor carpeting (the kind that looks like fake grass)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
      • Biosphere
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Human Impact
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DragonflyTV


  • All rights reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., 2007

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 610429