Water, Clean Water

Driving or Multi-dimensional Question:

Given a problem, students will imagine themselves as real estate investors for a new subdivision along the Cumberland River. The problem is the tract of land is not within reach of a public water source. Students must design and present a treatment for water from the Cumberland River.

Could also be adapted to a question of survival in a camping situation.

Unit Summary:

Students will discover how water from its natural source is cleared of it solutes. Students will gather samples of water from the natural source and asked to “clean” the water of its dissolved and undissolved contaminates.

Hook Event:

Students will observe water from its natural source (The Cumberland River) and from the faucet in the classroom. Students will work in collaborative groups to “clean” the source water in an attempt to get it as clean as the faucet water.

Culminating Event:

Students will construct an argument for the separation method which they choose. This argument must be supported by data gathered from the first separation testing, second separation testing situation, field trip or guest speaker.



Science Standards:

CHEM1.PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
7) Analyze solutions to identify solutes and solvents and perform separation methods such as evaporation, distillation, and/or chromatography and show conceptual understanding of distillation. Construct an argument to justify the use of certain separation methods under different conditions.

Math Standards:

ELA and Other Standards:

11-12.L.CSE.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking; consider complex and contested matters of usage and convention.

Created By: Sally Rodgers
Grade Level or Subject: Chemistry

Tennessee Academic Standards for Science Connection

Disciplinary Core Idea: Students will identify solutes, solvents.
Science and Engineering Practices: Students will plan and carry out separation methods such as evaporation, distillation, and/or chromatography.
Cross Cutting Concepts: Students will analyze water to determine the properties of the contaminates. Based upon the properties students will filter the water.

21st Century Skills

  • Critical Thinking
  • Collaboration (Team Building)
  • Creativity and Innovation

Daily Activities

For more information on this lesson please see the Lesson Resources below

  Activities Resources and Materials
Activity One

1. Gather water samples from the Cumberland River
2. Devise a plan to separate the water from the contaminates. Hand-out or lab posting at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pLiztzHDQd0d0c2dx_w_Ep8CyuZOAFEW0RU7HKLUPbg/edit?usp=sharing

2.Write a technical procedure for the set-up of the purifiers include pictures
3. Test the plan
3.Guest speaker survivalist water in the wild
4. Field trip to the water treatment facility
5. Redesign plan and test new plan
6.Revise technical plan and re-test water samples
7. Test water with water testing kits for “cleanness”
8. Prepare an argument to defend the process of “cleaning” the water
9. Present argument.

Samples of water from The Cumberland River

Samples of faucet water
Water testing kits
Aluminum foil
ring stands
chromatography strips
aquarium charcoal

Activity Two    
Activity Three    

Technology Integration: Students will use google docs to document the design- test- retest cycle and record data. This will be the platform for posting the technical plan. It will also be the platform for documenting the effectiveness of the process.

Community Partners Contribution to Learning Experience Contact Information
Water Department of Gainesboro Field trip to the water treatment facility Jerry Rhoten
Outdoor Experience Guest speaker – filter straws and distillation sets Sawyer Campbell

Capstone Presentation:

Students will build a google presentation of the cycle of designing a test, testing, redesigning a test and retesting. Students will defend the tests or processes they used to “clean” the water. Students may use video/ videos in the presentation.

Lesson Resources