What’s In Your Water?

Coffee filter
Sharp pencil or stick
2 jars or cups
Magnifying glass


1) Collect a cup of water from a local river, pond or stream. Observe its color and any particles you can see in it.
2) Take the stick or pencil and run it through the coffee filter so that it can be suspended over the other cup.
3) Slowly pour your water sample through the filter.  What color is the water after it has been filtered?
4) Use a magnifying glass to look at the particles left in the filer.  What sorts of materials might have been in the water?
5) Make sure you discard your filter and water samples when you are done!

Explanation: Even under the best natural conditions, water is not completely pure.  It contains bits of sand, dirt, salt, and tiny organisms.  These must be filtered out before humans can safely use the water.  However pollution often makes water so dirty that filtering is only the first step in a complex purifying process.  Water can be so polluted it is almost impossible to clean!

When water isn’t clean, it isn’t only humans that are affected.  Plants and animals can also become sick and die if their water supply is polluted.  Water pollution also clogs up lakes and ponds, causes disease, and destroys the beauty of natural areas.

What can you do to help keep your town’s water supply clean?

For more water-related activities, check out my Water For Tomorrow page.

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