Filter Lab


Filter Lab
What Is The Role Of Earth Science In Cleaning Our Dirty Water?

Phenomenon & Guiding Question

Our dirty water goes down the drain. What happens to our dirty water after it goes down the drain?

What Students Will Do

In this multi-day laboratory, students explore the physical filtration of wastewater using simple hands-on materials. Students will engage together in the engineering design process as they build and test a water filter of their own design.

This lesson is a take on the classic 5th grade, DIY water filtration activity. In elementary school however, we typically do not measure the extent to which filters clean (or don’t clean) our dirty water. We also never address the very real limitations of physical filtration in cleaning wastewater. This lesson is designed to do both.

What Students Will Figure Out

  • How to sketch, design, and build a working water filter
  • How to effectively use tools to measure water quality
  • That there are limitations on (what even the best) physical filters can remove

Grade Level

Designed for middle or high school earth science courses. Relevant for lots of different curriculum

Want To Learn More?

Please contact Ben Lavender at or (925) 335-7723 to bring this exciting program to your classroom!