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Water Filtration Experiment

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With Earth Day just around the corner, my mind was spinning with ideas related to the environment. This week we worked on a water filtration experiment to teach the kids about water pollution and clean water. (See 200+ STEM projects for kids)

Water Pollution- water filtration experiment

We have read a few great books on this topic:


The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks by Joanna Cole


One Well: The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss


A Drop Around the World by Barbara McKinney

We live in a desert state and water is a vital resource here. There are  mountain springs that run off from the winter snows and they collect into reservoirs. If these reservoirs became contaminated it would devastate our crops in this state!  We have to limit our water use in the summer because there are often droughts here. It is an issue we understand all too well here! So this experiment mattered to my kids.

We are quite lucky to live in a country where clean water is always readily available. I wanted my kids to learn and understand that his is not the case in all areas of the world. So many people get sick from their own drinking water.

How to Do the Water Filtration Experiment

homemade water filter experiment

You will need a few supplies:

2 Glass Jars
3-4 Coffee Filters
Dirty Water
A Plastic Cup with a Hole Cut in the Bottom

Begin by getting a jar full of dirty water. We went to a little pond nearby to collect some water.

In the plastic cup, start by lining the bottom with the coffee filters.  Then place a layer of clean sand followed by a layer of gravel.

how to make a water filter

Place the cup into an empty jar. Pour the dirty water into the cup so it can filter down through the gravel, sand and coffee filters.

water pollution lesson


Look at the difference in the water before and after! The filter collects all of the dirt and particles in it making the water much cleaner.

water filter and pollution lesson

Now, I am not sure I would recommend drinking it still, but if you were in dire need, t his is a great way to get some clean water!

A few ways to extend or modify:

Clean the filter and send the water through again. Try dirtying the water with different things like oil, soda, food coloring, etc. Get water testing kits to see if you can get it ready for drinking!

water testing kit

I am joining with some of my favorite blogging buddies today with an Earth Day log hop! Visit their sites for some other fun ideas for Earth Day!

Earth Day Activities for Kids

Easy Earth Day Sensory Play (Natural Beach Living)

Earth Day Coffee Filter Suncatcher Craft for Kids (A Little Pinch of Perfect)

Ways to Recycle Activities for Kids Play Ideas  (Little Bins for Little Hands)

Earth Day Science: Bug Search Experiment  (True Aim)

Planet Earth Craft (Go Science Girls)

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