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Create a water filter science experiment : Fizzics Education

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Create a water filter

Create a water filter

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

  • Three plastic cups
  • Two water bottles (to run two different versions
  • Scissors
  • A rubber band
  • Old stocking material (or kitchen cleaning wipe)
  • Sand and gravel with materials of different sizes
  • Water and dirt
  • Optional cardboard cutter (adult use only)

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Create a water filter science experiment - materials needed
1 Create a water filter science experiment - dirty water to filter

Make a  cup of dirty water and set it to one side.

2 Create a water filter science experiment - cutting the bottle

Cut each water bottle in half. You can either use the cardboard cutter to make a small cut or alternatively pinch the plastic bottle and then use the scissors to cut the bottle.

3 Create a water filter science experiment - cloth tied at the end of the bottle

Using the rubber band, tie a piece of cut stocking or kitchen wipe onto the opening of the water bottles. Make this fairly strong as it will need to hold the weight of the sand and gravel.

4 Create a water filter science experiment - adding gravel to a filter

In one water bottle add sand first and then gravel, in the other bottle put the gravel in first and then the sand. The idea is to see if the order of filtering materials makes a difference to how well the water is filtered… all about variable testing!

5 Create a water filter science experiment - pouring dirty water into a filter

Balance each of the two bottles upside-down in the remaining cups. Pour the dirty water into each water bottle and see how well the dirty water gets filtered!

6 Secchi-Disk

You could test how well you’ve filtered water using a secchi disc

7 Create a water filter science experiment - water at the end of first filtration

Also, try measuring the pH before and after the water filter experiment… did it make any difference?

8 Two smiling students watching a blue lava lamp made in a cup with oil, blue food colouring and alka seltzer
9 Teacher showing how to do an experiment outside to a group of kids.

Online courses for teachers & parents

– Help students learn how science really works

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Why Does This Happen?

You have created a simple water filter! The sand and gravel particles act as a sieve, trapping larger material from filtering down with the water as it travels downwards. Filtering such as this occurs in the natural environment as well. There are many communities that rely on underground aquifers which have accumulated over millions of years as water has filtered through the soil to the bedrock.

A classic example of an underground aquifer is Australia’s Great Artesian Basin which covers much of Queensland and South Australia with extensions into the Northern Territory and NSW.

You can create a simple model of soil horizons that produce these natural water filters by alternating different sands and gravel in a clear container.

Variables to test

More on variables here

  • Try different size sieve meshes by changing the dishcloth type
  • What happens if you change the size of the sand and gravel grains?

Learn more!

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