Name of Activity Detective Environmental Engineer (water filters)
Author Hannah Garfield and Kirsten Jorgensen
Keywords environmental, detective, engineer, mystery, water filter
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Lesson 3 of Detective Engineer: Intro to Different Types of Engineering unit – environmental engineering.
Lesson Objectives: – understand what environmental engineers do/design
– understand what a filter does and why it can be useful
– generally understand how to use which materials in a filter and why
Materials Needed: – rinsed, dried, and cut plastic bottles (2 L are good, but normal sizes also works fine) (cut bottom of bottle off so it’s easy to reach the interior of the bottle, keep cap on)
– cups to catch filtered water
– cheese cloth
– tape
– cotton balls
– string
– paper
– popsicle sticks
– eye droppers
– dirty water (sand, small rocks, oil, glitter, etc.)
Preparation and Set Up: – Rinse, dry, and cut plastic bottles (1 per group)
– Prepare dirty water a head of time
Procedure Once the students/detective engineer crosses the gap they reach the crime scene and there’s mysterious puddles of cloudy water everywhere. They think there could be some clues in the water. Ask the students how they think they could extract the clues from the water? Talk about what the purpose of a filter is. Introduce materials and then allow students to brainstorm how they’ll design their filter before passing out materials. Allow students to build filters. They can raise their hands when they have finished building their filter to receive dirty water. Students can test filters and see how clean their water comes out. Bring students back together as a class and have each group talk about their filter design, if they thought it worked well, and why or why not.
Extensions: Adding oil makes it more difficult. Some kids figured out they can skim it off the top with the eye dropper.
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