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How do you make dirty water clean?

Ann Bishop ( (ready to use)

Emma Bishop

Subject Areas

Grade Levels
Preschool, Kinder, Informal

Unit Keywords
capillary action, water purification, water filtering, water pollution, water quality, NSFSTC

Open Directory Category

Rationale of the Unit
My 4 year old was looking at a mucky pond in our neighborhood and asked why the water was dirty and how it could get clean again. We wanted to find a fun experiment that would demonstrate a water purification process.

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Background and Resources

We had a neat little cardset called "52 amazing science experiments" and found that one of them was about water filtering.

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Activities and Open-ended problems
LAB ACTIVITIES -- work to do in labs or other special settings

Here's how we did our experiment (see picture below):

1) Take one container and fill it with muddy water.

2) Take an empty container and set it below the one with muddy water (we used bowls and our porch steps).

3) Get a dish towel and put one end in each bowl.

4) Leave it overnight... when you come back, the bottom container will be filled with clean water and the top one has only dirt left! Voila--it's capillary action!

emma with bowl of muddy water

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Dialogues, Discussions, and Presentations
Emma really had fun with this. If any other little kids who try it want to tell us what they thought of it or share any other cool experiments, please add your comments below.

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Assessment, Related Questions, and Story of the Unit

Credits & Acknowledgements
The little card set we bought of "52 amazing science experiments" is terrific and doesn't require any materials beyond what you probably already have lying around at your house. Its widely available in bookstores and toystores.

Uploaded Files:

Users' Comments on this Unit
  • I'm Emma. I'm 8 now.    -   by
  • And nnnnnnooooooooowwwwww I'm 9. :)    -   by
  • Heehee. I'm 10.    -   by
  • 11 now, woo-hoo.    -   by
  • you rock, emma! you should add a new photo. no tatoos or piercings, please.    -   by

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