Top 3 Projects Based on Water Pollution

Latest Projects Based on Water Pollution

The following projects are based on water pollution. This list shows the latest innovative projects which can be built by students to develop hands-on experience in areas related to/ using water pollution.

1. Ground Water Quality Assessment

Water is the most precious natural resource among all the natural resources found on Earth. During the previous few decades, there has been an unprecedented increase in the need for potable water supply. This is due to a tremendous increase in population, industrialization, urbanization, and intense agricultural activities. Due to unplanned urbanization and rapid industrialization, this rich resource has reached a point of crisis. Due to insufficient availability of surface water which is being subjected to pollution due to urbanization, and industrialization, and also due to the thought that groundwater is pollution-free, the majority of the population in India depends on groundwater for drinking and household, industrial, and agricultural uses.

2. Hydropower using Treated Sewage Water

Urban migration is the major reason for the generation of large amounts of sewage water. To overcome that large number of sewage treatment plants are built.

3. Coconut Shell as Capping For Sand in Rapid Sand Filters

Water is the main source for the survival of the mankind. Water is used for irrigation, drinking, sanitation etc… we cannot imagine the world without water. Water is used for the drinking purposes is to be treated properly.

Build projects on latest technologies

Want to develop practical skills on latest technologies? Checkout our latest projects and start learning for free

Latest Projects based on water pollution

Any questions.

Join 250,000+ students from 36+ countries & develop practical skills by building projects

Get kits shipped in 24 hours. Build using online tutorials.

Subscribe to latest project ideas

Stay up-to-date and build projects on latest technologies

☎ Have a Query?

KidsGen - the new age kids site

Water Pollution

  • Stories for kids
  • Fables and Fairytales
  • School Projects
  • Events and Holidays
  • Fun and Jokes
  • Unsolved Mystry

School Project: Water Pollution

Water pollution means the contamination of water bodies (e.g. lakes, rivers, oceans and groundwater). Water pollution mostly occurs when pollutants are dumped directly or indirectly into water bodies without any proper treatment to remove harmful substances.

water pollution

Water pollution not only affects the plants and animals living in the water sources but also damages the existence of natural living communities.


Water pollution is a major global concern all over worldwide and the water resource policy keeps the records at all levels. It has been suggested that it is the leading global cause of deaths and disease and it accounts deaths of more than 14,000 people daily. Most countries like India, China and many more are lacking the adequate access of safe drinking water. It has been estimated that not only developing or underdeveloped countries are suffering from inefficient water resources but also developed  countries like United States of America are suffering from the improper quality of water resources.

Water is typically referred to as a pollutant when it is affected by anthropogenic  contaminants and basically in common sense which does not support the use of human desires such as drinking water. Natural disasters like volcanoes, algae blooms, storms and earthquakes also causes the major changes in water quality and the ecological status of water.

Sources of Water Pollution

The sources in which the water resources are being contaminated continuously:-

sewage waste

Agricultural Contamination

The most essential reason for agricultural pollution is the continuous use of pesticides and fertilizers which can also lead to water contamination. Some other causes are uncontrolled spreading of slurries and manure, disposal of sheep dip, tillage and ploughing of the land.

agricultural contamination

Oil Pollution

Oil spillages affect water quality in a number of ways. Oil can make drinking water unsafe to utilize for human purposes. A substantial  amount  of oil released into oceans and sea which will ultimately destroys the wildlife and the ecosystem that sustains them. Oil spills also reduce oxygen supplies within the water ecosystem.

oil pollution

The main causes of oil related water pollution are:-

1. Loss from storage facilities

2. Spillage during delivery and;

3. Deliberate disposal of waste oil to drainage systems.

Radioactive Substances

Radioactive waste is another source of water pollution. Radioactive substances are used in nuclear power plants, industrial, medical and other scientific purposes. There are also naturally occurring radioisotopes from organisms and within the environment. These kind of substances can result into a great water pollution incidents.

Radioactive substances

Domestic Dumping

In household activities, most of the people dumps their garbage wastes and some other inorganic substances into water sources. Water dumping substances not only causes water pollution but also harms the ecosystem and increases the risk of flooding.

Domestic Dumping waste

The Causes of Water Pollution

Some chemical substances like calcium, sodium, iron, manganese, etc.) which are dumping into the water sources are the main leading cause of water pollution. The high concentration of naturally occurring substances can have negative impacts on marine flora and fauna.

Chemical Substances

There are some man-made as well as natural substances which can cause water contamination. Some natural and anthropogenic substances may cause turbidity(cloudiness) which blocks the direct ray of sunlight and results then complete disturbance in the growth of small marine plants and also damages in some life of marine species.

Most of the chemical substances are toxic in nature and those of harmful chemical substances can produce waterborne diseases which can ultimately be harmful to human as well as other organisms living in the environment and are considered as Pathogens . The chemical substances which are dumped from certain industries, factories or household communities can lead to change in temperature and mostly the growth of eutrophication. Eutrophication is an increase in the concentration Of chemical nutrients in an ecosystem  to such an extent  that increases in the Primary Productivity of the ecosystem. Depending on the degree of eutrophication, any negative environmental effects like anorexia (Oxygen depletion) and major depletion in water quality which may cause disturbance in the ecosystem. Chemical and other contaminants  are mostly of two types:- Organic (like detergents, chloroform, insecticides, herbicides etc.) and Inorganic (like power plants, ammonia, chemical waste, fertilizers, heavy metals from motor vehicles and silt) water pollutants .

Thermal Pollution

The thermal pollution is the rise or fall in the temperature of the water body which are cause under the influence of human activities. The main point of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant by power plants and industries. Increase in water temperature decreases oxygen levels under marine ecosystem as well as other ecosystem composition. Thermal pollution can also be caused by the release of cold water from the base of the water reservoirs into warmer water sources like river etc.

Thermal Pollution

Control of Water Pollution

Domestic sewage

Domestic sewage mostly contains 99.9 percent of pure water, while the other half 0.1 percent is considered as pollutants. Even though they are small in concentration but can pose risk on a large scale. Mostly in urban areas, domestic sewage is typically treated by the sewage treatment plants. Well-designed and operated systems can remove 90 percent or more of these pollutants. But there are some municipal plants which are not designed to treat toxic pollutants found in industrial wastewater. So, there are some ways in which domestic sewage may be treated properly including -

  • Approaching a green infrastructure to improve storm water management system and reduce the hydraulic overloading of the treatment plant.
  • Try to repair or replace the leaking or any malfunction equipment.
  • Try to increase the overall  hydraulic  capacity of the sewage system at any cost.

Domestic dumping waste

Industrial wastewater

As we all are aware that most of industries generates waste water with high concentration of conventional pollutants (e.g. oil and grease ), toxic pollutants (e.g.Heavy metals, organic compounds) or other non-conventional pollutants such as ammonia. The facilities which could be needed to remove the toxic pollutants should be installed  with a pre-treatment system.

Industrial waste

Some industries has been redesigning their manufacturing processes in order to reduce or eliminate pollutants through a process called pollution prevention.

Here, are some ways in which power generated water or industrial sewage water can be treated :-

  • Cooling ponds, man-made water bodies which are designed for cooling by evaporation, convection and radiation.
  • Cooling towers, which transfer waste heat to the air through the process of evaporation.
  • Cogeneration, a process where waste heat is recycled for domestic and for industrial heating purposes

Agricultural Waste Water

Nonpoint source controls

Farmers may utilize erosion controls to reduce runoff flows and retain soil within their fields. Common techniques include contour plowing, crop mulching, crop rotation, planting perennial crops and installing riparian buffers.

Waste Agricultural

Nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) are use by the farmers as commercial fertilizers, animal manure or spraying of municipal or industrial wastewater or sludge. Farmers can develop and implement nutrient management plans to reduce misuse of chemical fertilizers.

Another way to minimize excess pesticides, farmers may use Integrated Pest management (IPM) techniques to maintain the control over pest, reduce the dependence on chemical pesticides and protect the best possible use of water quality.

Point source wastewater treatment

Animal slurries are treated by containment in anaerobic lagoons before disposal by spray or trickle application to grassland. Constructed wetlands are sometimes may used to facilitate  the treatment of animal wastes. Some animal slurries are used by mixing with straw and composted at high temperature to produce bacteriologically sterile and manure for soil fertilization.

Construction site storm water

Sediment from construction sites is managed by installation of:

  • Erosion controls, such as mulching and hydroseeding and,
  • Sediment controls, such as sediment basins and silt fences.

Construction Site

Urban runoff (storm water )

To prevent control  of urban runoff involves decreasing the velocity and the flow of stormwater, as well as reducing pollutants. Local government are using a variety of stormwater management techniques to reduce the effects of urban runoff. These techniques may be used to focus on water quantity control, and some others facilities are focus mainly on improving the quality of water resources. Some other techniques could be used includes low-impact development techniques, installation of green roofs and improved chemical handling (e.g. Management of motor fuels and oil, fertilizers and pesticides). Infiltration basins, bioretention systems, constructed wetlands, retention basins are involved in runoff mitigation systems.

Urban Runoff

Thermal pollution from runoff can be controlled only by one process (i.e. by storm water management facilities as it helps to absorb the runoff or direct it into the groundwater). Retention basins may be less effective like reducing temperature, as it helps the water to heat up by the sun before being discharged to a nearby steam.

  • Water Conservation Main
  • School Projects Main


Looking for something? Ask Google.

Try out the other sections

  • Party Ideas
  • Rhymes and Poems
  • Facts Magic
  • Tell Me Why?
  • A-Z of Animals
  • Moral Stories
  • Indian Mythological Stories
  • Back to School

You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser or activate Google Chrome Frame to improve your experience.

  • Account Home

Icon: Facebook

10 Hands-On Science Projects to Teach About Pollution

10 Hands on science projects to teach about pollution

And then there is plastic pollution. According to an article by  National Geographic, some 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the oceans every year from coastal regions. The problem is, this plastic destroys local habitats and is known to be a contributing factor to animal mortality.  Clearly, something drastic needs to be done about the surge of pollution. And these are just a few examples.

Education is certainly part of improving the situation. Teachers can educate their students so they can make a difference – whether it be in their own personal lives, or as the environmental scientists and inventors in the future.

To spark the inner environmentalist in students, we’ve compiled a list of the best hands-on science projects that teach kids about pollution. We have also suggested what grades each activity is suitable for. However, these are just a guide, so feel free to use your discretion and adapt each activity to the grade you are teaching.

1. Oil Spill Simulation

Oil spills are devastating for the environment, and cost millions of dollars to clean up. Videos and images of oil spill disasters can be an effective teaching tool since they can be so emotional. Although caution is advised when showing pictures of affected animals!

Nevertheless, a hands-on oil spill simulation will help your students to understand why oil spills affect the environment so badly and how difficult they are to clean up. You can find specific instructions for this activity here . In a nutshell, the activity requires students to simulate an oil spill in a tray of water, examine the potential effects on wildlife, and suggest clean-up methods using household items.

Suitable for: 3 – 6

2. Real-World Testing of Biodegradability

If objects and materials were more biodegradable, this would help with pollution since the discarded objects would break down more quickly. Some of the materials we use, however, never break down, and they end up clogging up our waterways and littering our soil. In this activity, students will conduct an experiment that establishes what materials really are biodegradable.

You can find instructions  here . It essentially involves burying a range of objects (an apple core, leaves, plastic packaging, and Styrofoam) underneath the ground and leaving them there for a month. Students then return to the burial site and dig down to see what has broken down and what has not. The activity also comes with some excellent discussion questions. 

Suitable for: K – 6

For more ideas, see  Activity # 14 Renewable or Not? in PLT’s  PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide .

3. “Happy Earth, Sad Earth” Sorting Game

This activity is a very simple sorting exercise for younger children. It involves putting pictures of things that are beneficial for the Earth, and those that are not, into the appropriate category. The activity could be conducted in groups, or as a class.

For this activity, you will need to print out and laminate (optional) the cards and objects found here (courtesy of ). How you encourage your students to sort the objects is entirely up to you, but displaying them on a big piece of cardboard that can be put up on the wall when finished is ideal! 

Suitable for: K – 2

For more ideas, see  Activity # 24 Nature’s Recyclers  in PLT’s  PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide .

4. Modeling Pollution Uptake by Plants Using Celery

Pollution can also end up in food chains, including our own, which can have a negative on health and wellbeing. This activity is a great way to kick off a discussion about pollution and food chains. It involves creating a simple model that demonstrates how pollution can be drawn up into plants.

To do this activity, place a piece of celery in a jar or beaker of diluted food dye. Over time, the food dye moves up the celery, and there it remains. The food dye represents pollution, and the celery could represent any number of plants that are used for food. You can find specific instructions for this activity here .

Suitable for: K – 3 (NOTE – A knife is needed to cut the celery, so just be aware of that. Probably best if adults did that part).

For more ideas, see  Activity # 27 Every Tree for Itself  in PLT’s  PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide .

5. Polluted Display Jars

This activity enables students to “see” pollution in the classroom — a great teaching or memory aid when discussing the topic. And it’s super easy too! In summary, students collect samples of air and water (even snow), put them in clear glass or plastic jars, and then manually “pollute” them.  

You can find some instructions and ideas here . But here are some quick suggestions regarding what could be added to your jars to pollute them: For your jar of air, you could drop a lit match into the jar, and quickly put the lid on, so that the smoke is caught in the jar. That will certainly give that nice clean air a brown/grey tinge! (Only adults should handle the matches.) For the jar of water, dirt and bits of plastic will suffice. Remember to have jars of clean water, air, and snow so students can compare the clean ones with the polluted ones. 

Suitable for: K – 5

For more ideas, see  Activity # 28 Air Plants  and Activity # 36 Pollution Search   in PLT’s  PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide .

6. Sea Turtle Fate Game

From the moment they are born, various species of sea turtles have a tough time making it through to adulthood.  Although sea turtles die of natural causes or as the result of predator attacks, they also die as a result of human activity and pollution. This game allows students to explore the effects of humans on sea turtles, and the true scope of the problem.

You can find a detailed explanatory video here . The activity involves drawing plastic eggs out of a bowl of sand, with each plastic egg having a “fate” message inside. The message describes whether the figurative sea turtle in that egg survived or not, and if it didn’t survive, why not. Students then sort each ill-fated turtle egg into categories related to whether its death was as a result of man-made or natural causes.

Suitable for: Grades 2 – 5 (it could be used with younger students, depending on the make-up of your class. The themes may be a little too deep for some).

7. Watering Plants with “Acid Rain”

Acid rain is a significant threat to the environment and is caused by pollutants in the atmosphere mixing with rain as it falls. The topic of acid rain is something students may learn about in both science and geography. This activity allows students to create their own “acid rain” and to asses its effects. 

You can find detailed instructions here . In this experiment, students water three separate plants with either water, a little bit of acid, and a lot of acid. Use either vinegar or lemon juice as the acid. After leaving the plants in the sun to grow for a few days, watering them as they go, students will assess the effects of the acid on the plants. (You will need to be prepared to lose two plants. All for the sake of science of course!)

Suitable for: Grades 5 – 8 (depending on how in depth you go with the theory).

NOTE – You may like to have the children wear lab glasses when handling the lemon juice or vinegar. This can help avoid some stinging eyes, and of course, will make them feel like real little scientists!

8. Water Pollution Detection Experiment

This activity gives students an opportunity to get up close and personal with water “pollution” and explores some of the simple ways we can tell if pollution is present. This activity is excellent because it engages many senses.

The activity involves giving each student/group in your class a cup of clean water. You will then go around the class, adding a few drops of food coloring to each cup of water. The kids then stir the solution, making note of the fact that they can see the “pollution.” The same process is repeated, this time adding vinegar to the fresh water. This illustrates how sometimes we can smell “pollution”. The third time around, add salt and the students’ mix. This highlights that not all pollutants can be seen or smelled (once the salt has dissolved).

You can find detailed instructions for this “Playing Hide and Seek…with Pollution” activity here . There are also some additional questions, activities and suggested teaching strategies.

Suitable for: Grades 2 – 5 

For more ideas, see  Activity # 44 Water Wonders  in PLT’s  PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide .

9. Climate Change Sensory Play

In lessons about pollution, teachers often discuss how it contributes to climate change, and this is a great activity to explore this concept using their sense of touch.  You can find instructions here .

Essentially the activity involves using frozen shaving cream (as snow/glaciers), blocks of ice, beads, and plastic animals to simulate a polar environment. Allow students to spend time playing on their own with everything in the environment. After some time, everything begins to melt. The activity dramatically demonstrates the impact of melting ice caps and glaciers. A discussion of pollution and climate change can follow. Be warned: this activity will require a bit of clean up!

Suitable for: Grades K – 3 

For more ideas, see  Activity # 84 The Global Climate  in PLT’s  PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide .

Are you planning on trying any of these activities? What are some other ways you teach your students about pollution? Let us know in the comments!

Rebecca Reynandez

Rebecca Reynandez

3 comments on “ 10 hands-on science projects to teach about pollution ”.

Where and how do we download these activities, they look good. I am a facilitator for Wild B.C. and took the online PLT course.

Thank you for sharing! I teach AP Environmental Science to Junior and Senior level students in High School. We just did a lesson on Biomagnification during our pollution unit. I plan to use the celery activity as a demonstration/visual aid to help them SEE Bioaccumulation then review over Biomagnification. Next year I’ll do your celery demo before the activity.

P.S. I have been through the PLT workshop and appreciate your efforts.

Thank you for these. I have a 7year old who is doing a project on energy and pollution. Some great ideas to share with him!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recycling Myths Busted

What does the recycling symbol represent? If you answered, “reduce, reuse, recycle”, that is incorrect! Read on for more recycling myths busted…

Icon: white arrow

Environmental Education Resources

Every month we carefully select new educational apps, videos, interactive websites, books, careers information, and teacher-generated materials that support PLT lessons.

STEM: Water Wonders

World Oceans Day (June 8) is the perfect time to explore the water cycle. Take PLT’s Water Wonders activity a step further with these STEM-focused ideas. Students will learn more about the importance of water conservation, how we use and engineer water, and they’ll discover some water-focused careers.

PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide – Activity 51, Make Your Own Paper

Students investigate the papermaking process by trying it themselves. Students are thrilled to find that they can make paper and that their product is practical, as well as beautiful. Watch a video of the paper-making process used in this activity.


Icon: People


Get our educational materials and professional development by participating in an in-person workshop or an online course.

Icon: Map


Get information relevant to your state, plus local assistance and connections to resources and professionals in your community.

Icon: Piggy Bank


Get a wealth of up-to-date resources, support, and ideas from teachers and other educators.


Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter for free tools and resources, new lesson plans, professional development and grant opportunities, and tips from educators for teaching about the environment.

  • Email Address *
  • First Name * First

STAO logo

Water Pollution – Student Chemistry Project

Categories: Gr 9-10 Science , Gr. 11-12 Chemistry

  • Print Friendly

water pollution student project

How do different compounds contribute to water pollution?

Critical Challenge: 

Taking the role of a water safety advocate, prepare a presentation to city council that will rank the pollution threat of a poultry farm, a textiles plant and a landfill to the local water supply and suggest effective methods to regulate and control this pollution.

This activity is part of STAO’s Connex series on scientific inquiry.

Click here for the complete activity 

envelope with at sign

Never miss a resource

The Science Teachers Association of Ontario adds new resources, blog posts, videos and more on a regular basis. 

' src=

Related Blogs:

Get your science on: photon of the opera - submitted by joanne o'meara.

Categories: Gr 9-10 Science , Gr. 11-12 Physics What’s Going On? When a magnet is moved by a coil of wires, you can induce an electric current. This is the principle behind how most of the electricity is produced in... read more

March Guide to the Bright Planets

Categories: Gr 4-6 Science & Tech , Gr 9-10 Science , Gr. 11-12 Physics

As March 2017 opens, the waxing crescent moon joins up with Venus, Mars (and Uranus) in the western sky after sunset. Mars remains a rather feeble evening object for the next few months, but March... read more

The Only Detox You'll Ever Need

Categories: Gr 7-8 Science & Tech , Gr 9-10 Science , Gr. 11-12 Biology , Gr. 11-12 Chemistry People talk all the time about how they need to “detox.” And there’s a line of companies a mile long waiting to sell you juices and smoothies that claim to cleanse... read more

Session expired

Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.

water pollution student project

High School, Fight Water Pollution Science Projects (7 results)

Measure the effects of polluted water on living things. Or investigate how water becomes polluted by experimenting with the effects of algae, silt deposits, or fertilizer .

Explore Our Science Videos

water pollution student project

water pollution research

All Formats

Resource types, all resource types, water pollution research.

  • Rating Count
  • Price (Ascending)
  • Price (Descending)
  • Most Recent

water pollution student project

Marine Biology Ocean Pollution Project Water Pollution Research

water pollution student project

Water pollution research project - Distance Learning

water pollution student project

Pollution Reading Passage & Comprehension Activities - Water , Air - Earth Day

water pollution student project

  • Google Apps™

water pollution student project

Water Pollution Internet Scavenger Hunt WebQuest Activity

water pollution student project

  • Internet Activities

water pollution student project

Air and Water Pollution Worksheets Webquest

water pollution student project

Fresh Water Issues Activity Kit - River Pollution Clean Drinking Water Access

water pollution student project

Pollution Research Project { Pollution Research Activity & Diorama}

water pollution student project

Engineering Mini Unit & Project Based Assessment: Water Pollution STEM Challenge

water pollution student project

Pollution - Air / Water - Debate: Which is more dangerous?

water pollution student project

  • Word Document File

water pollution student project

Water Pollution Observation Science Experiment - Free Lesson

water pollution student project

Extensive Freshwater Ecosystems Presentation and Research Tasks

water pollution student project

  • Google Slides™

water pollution student project

Pollution Graphic Organizers – Doodles on Air, Water , Land Pollution and 3Rs

water pollution student project

Water Pollution Guided Lesson and Webquest for Environmental Science

water pollution student project

Natural Science Research Project Bundle - Distance Learning Compatible

water pollution student project

Types of Pollution Research Chart

water pollution student project

Land and water pollution Distance learning (GCSE)

water pollution student project

  • Google Docs™

water pollution student project

Africa's Environmental Issues Research Project

water pollution student project

Middle School Science: Environmental Issues Research Project

water pollution student project

Water Pollution WebQuest:

water pollution student project

  • Easel Activity

water pollution student project

Water Pollution - Human Impact - The Environment - Task Cards

water pollution student project

Groundwater & Water Pollution NO PREP Project

water pollution student project

Water Pollution Theme: High School Experiential Learning Bundle

water pollution student project

Water Pollution Webquest

water pollution student project

Project Based Learning- Water Pollution : A Second Grade Activity Guide STEM

water pollution student project

  • We're hiring
  • Help & FAQ
  • Privacy policy
  • Student privacy
  • Terms of service
  • Tell us what you think

Brought to you by CU Engineering (University of Colorado Boulder)

FREE K-12 standards-aligned STEM

curriculum for educators everywhere!

Find more at .

  • TeachEngineering
  • The Dirty Water Project: Design-Build-Test Your Own Water Filters

Hands-on Activity The Dirty Water Project: Design-Build-Test Your Own Water Filters

Grade Level: 5 (3-5)

(Add 15-minutes at the beginning if the class makes the "polluted" water and sets up the aeration; can be split into two 45-minute sessions)

Expendable Cost/Group: US $3.00

Group Size: 3

Activity Dependency: None

NGSS Performance Expectations:

NGSS Three Dimensional Triangle

Curriculum in this Unit Units serve as guides to a particular content or subject area. Nested under units are lessons (in purple) and hands-on activities (in blue). Note that not all lessons and activities will exist under a unit, and instead may exist as "standalone" curriculum.

  • Shades of Gray(water)
  • Designing Ways to Get and Clean Water
  • What's Gotten Into You?
  • Water Cycle: Moving without Wheels

TE Newsletter

Engineering connection, learning objectives, materials list, worksheets and attachments, more curriculum like this, introduction/motivation, troubleshooting tips, activity extensions, activity scaling, user comments & tips.

Engineers make a world of difference

Civil, chemical and environmental engineers work together to make existing water treatment systems better, and to develop new water treatment systems. Some engineers design state-of-the-art seawater treatment system technologies that process ocean water cost-effectively for safe domestic use.

After this activity, students should be able to:

  • Use sight and smell to identify pollutants in a water sample.
  • Explore what types of pollutants are removed from water by aeration and filtration.
  • Design, build and test a water filtration system.
  • Explain the role of engineers in water treatment systems.

Educational Standards Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards. All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) , a project of D2L ( In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g. , by state; within source by type; e.g. , science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc .

Ngss: next generation science standards - science, international technology and engineering educators association - technology.

View aligned curriculum

Do you agree with this alignment? Thanks for your feedback!

Each group needs:

  • Data Collection Worksheet , one per student
  • 2-liter plastic bottle cut in half horizontally, as shown in Figure 1; ask students to bring empty bottles from home or get from local recycling center near you; wash before use; consider using the same ones used in Lesson 4's This Landfill is a Gas activity.)

A photograph shows a 2-liter bottle of ginger ale (left) and the same green plastic bottle cut in half horizontally (right) so the base is in one half and the narrow neck is in the other half.

  • 3-inch square of mesh, such as fine nylon screen or fine cheese-cloth
  • 1 rubber band
  • 1 spoon or other stirring utensil; a chopstick works well

To share among all groups:

  • filter materials, such as filter paper or large coffee filter (at least 6" in diameter), 6 cotton balls, ~6 cups soil, ~6 cups sand, 1 dozen large and small pebbles (total), ~6 cup activated charcoal (such as used for potting plants and in aquariums)
  • aquarium aerator or a mechanical stirrer/mixer; aeration pumps for fish tanks work well
  • measuring cups
  • 2 large jugs/jars, ~1 gallon size, such as plastic gallon milk jugs with lids; for mixing/storing "polluted water" (recipe follows)
  • "polluted water" made by mixing the following items in amounts at the teacher's discretion: water (enough to fill the jugs/jars ~¾ full), green liquid food coloring, soil, organic matter such as grass clippings and orange rinds, dishwashing detergent, vinegar, baking soda, salt, pepper, pieces of polystyrene foam (foam peanuts), small pieces of newspaper, and your own ideas for other items

Due to its incredible chemical properties, water is often considered the "universal solvent." It can mix with organic (natural) or synthetic (human-made) substances. Some of these products easily break down in water, while others break down very slowly, or perhaps even never. Water naturally cleans itself via filtration through the ground and evaporation via the water cycle.

At one time, communities disposed of their waste and garbage directly into lakes, streams and oceans. Now, most countries require that unclean (contaminated, polluted) water be treated before it is permitted to be released into natural bodies of water like lakes, rivers and oceans.

Generally, three different ways are used to treat raw sewage (waste) water before it is released. First, the liquid is given time to settle and then is exposed to oxygen by stirring or bubbling air through it (aeration). This helps many harmful organic pollutants react with oxygen and change into carbon dioxide and water. Second, the liquid is filtered to remove the particulate matter. Third, it is treated chemically with chlorine or ozone to kill any remaining harmful components such as bacteria.

Environmental, chemical and civil engineers work together to improve existing water treatment systems and design new ones to ensure that we have clean water both now and in the future. Today, let's imagine that we are engineers working for the Clean Water Environmental Engineering Company. The company has been asked to design a new water filtration system for a small community with a polluted water supply using limited materials. We are going to focus on the second step in the water treatment process, filtering. First, we are going to look at different types of filter material to determine which ones work well. Then each group in the company will design a filtering system to clean the polluted water. The best filtering system will be used in the small community.

Before the Activity

  • Prepare the "polluted water" supply and let it ripen in a sunny spot for a day or two. Alternatively, do this as a class demonstration so that students know exactly what is in the water. If you have student create the "polluted water" supply, have them write down the ingredients and their sight and smell (not taste) observations about the solution as it changes.
  • Place the aerator/mixer in one sample of "polluted water" and let it sit overnight before Part 1. You will probably need to aerate a large sample of water for a day or so before Part 2, depending on how many groups choose to use aerated water for their best filter. Note: Aeration, the process of adding air to water, is often part of the water purification process in order to help many harmful organic pollutants react with oxygen and change into non-threatening carbon dioxide and water.
  • Be sure to mix the solution thoroughly before preparing the student samples.
  • Prepare the 2-liter bottles: cut them in half horizontally. Place a square of mesh over the bottle opening and secure it with the rubber band. If you use cheese cloth, you will need to replace it before Part 2.
  • Make copies of the Data Collection Worksheet , one per person.
  • Make a transparency or large chart of the class data section for use in Part 1.
  • Review the water cycle with the class. Pay special attention to where the water can be purified. See the following book for a great description: The Magic School Bus – Wet All Over: A Book about the Water Cycle by Joanna Cole and Pat Relf (New York, NY: Scholastic Books, Inc., 1996).

With the Students

  • Divide the class into groups of three students each.
  • Distribute a worksheet to each group.
  • Remind the students that they are now working for the Clean Water Environmental Engineering Company and have been asked to design a new water filtration system for a small community with a polluted water supply. First, the company is going to look at different types of filter material to determine which ones work well. Then each group in the company will design a filtering system to clean up the polluted water.
  • Give the following supplies to each group: a pre-cut 2-liter bottle, a ½-¾ cup (100-200 ml) sample of the "polluted water" in a beaker or cup, one type of "filter" (one group will not get a filter in order to test the mesh only), and a spoon.
  • Ask each group to draw a picture of the "polluted water." Ask them to describe in words what it looks and smells like. Remind them to gently stir the solution and record their sight and smell observations on the worksheet. Remind students to never taste the solution.
  • Ask students to come up with questions they think are important to answer throughout the activity about water filters (i.e., what makes a good filter?). Have them also write down on their worksheets their predictions for what they think their particular filter material will do.
  • Ask students to set up their filters by placing the filter material into the inverted 2-liter bottle top, as shown in Figure 2. Note: Place the filter in the end of the bottle with the neck, so it functions like a funnel. Use the other half of the bottle as a stand. Prompt students to draw sketches of their setups on the worksheet.

A photograph shows a 2-liter bottle with a standard coffee filter placed in the bottom.

  • Ask students to gently stir the "polluted water" and then slowly pour it into the filter. Make sure the group with the filter paper is careful to not pour liquid above the top of the filter.
  • Direct students to observe what happens during the filtration. Expect some filtrations to take longer than others. Remind students to record on their worksheets their observations and draw pictures of the filtered water.
  • After all groups have collected data, share the results as a class by filling in the information on the transparency or chart made earlier. Have students record all team results in the class data section on the worksheets.
  • As a class, look at the aerated sample. Discuss what aeration is and how it works (refer to the aeration explanation in the Before the Activity section).
  • Ask students to work in their engineering design groups to design the best water filtration system given the filter material options and their choice of aerated or non-aerated water. Have them fill in the worksheet to record and explain their design choices. Permit them to use as many of the filtering materials as they want.
  • Collect all supplies and dispose of used items properly. Rinse and save the 2-liter bottles Part 2.
  • Have students sort into their Part 1 groups.
  • Give each team a prepared 2-liter bottle, ½-¾ cup (100-200 ml) of the "polluted water" in a beaker or cup (aerated or non-aerated, whichever they chose) and a spoon.
  • Distribute the filter materials as needed. Note: It helps if teams each send a designated "materials" person from to collect their supplies from a central classroom location.
  • Ask students to fabricate their groups' water filter systems and draw pictures of them on their worksheets.
  • For testing, direct students to gently stir the polluted water supply and then slowly pour an amount into the filter. For teams that used filter paper, remind them to be careful not to pour the liquid above the top of the filter.

A photograph shows a 2-liter bottle with a standard coffee filter placed in the bottom half; the filter has begun to trap particles of carbon.

  • Alert students to carefully observe and record on their worksheets what happens during the filtration process. Note: Some filtration systems take longer than others to process the "polluted water," so students should not worry if their filtration systems takes longer than other systems. Also have teams draw pictures on their worksheets of the filtered water.
  • Direct students to record their results and answer the worksheet discussion questions, comparing answers with team members.
  • After all the groups are finished, label and line up the filtered samples. Ask each team to present its filter system to the class (aka Clean Water Environmental Engineering Company). Have students discuss similarities and differences in the filters.
  • Conclude with a class vote and discussion about which water is the cleanest and why. 

Pre-Activity Assessment: Part 1

Questions: Have students come up with questions they think are important to answer throughout the activity about water filters (i.e., what makes a good filter?). Tell them to keep the questions in mind and answer them at the end of the activity.

Picture Drawing: Ask each student to draw a picture of their group's "polluted water" in the space provided on the Data Collection Worksheet .

Prediction: Ask students to write down a prediction for what they think their particular filter materials will do in the space provided on the worksheet.

Recorded Observations: Ask students to stir the solution and record their observations on their worksheets.

Pre-Activity Assessment: Part 2

Picture Drawing: Ask each student to draw a picture of their best water filter in the space provided on worksheet.

Activity Embedded Assessment: Parts 1 and 2

Recorded Observations: Students observe and record what happens during the filtration process.

Picture Drawing: Have each student draw a picture of the filtered water in the space provided on the worksheet.

Post Activity Assessment: Part 1

Data Recording: After all groups have collected data, share the results as a class by filling in the information on the transparency or chart made earlier. Have students record all team results in the Class Data Section on the worksheet.

Clean Water Environmental Engineering Company Design Project: Ask students to work in their engineering design groups to design the best water filter system given the filter material options and their choice of aerated or non-aerated water. Have them record and explain their choices on the worksheet.

Post Activity Assessment: Part 2

Worksheet Questions: Have students answer the worksheet discussion questions, comparing answers with a team member. Collect and review student worksheets to assess their engagement, comprehension and mastery of the subject matter.

Engineering Presentations: Ask each team to present its filter system design to the class, explaining their logic. Examine the filtered solutions. Conclude with a class vote and discussion about which water is the cleanest and why.

Safety Issues

Remind students to only make sign and smell observations of the "polluted water" solution and never taste a solution, even if it looks "clean."

Have some paper towels, rags or sponges on hand in-case of spills.

Consider any student allergies before creating the dirty water sample.

Advise students to fold the filter paper so it fits into the bottle top and suggest they pre-wet the paper so that it sticks to the sides of the "funnel." An eyedropper and tap water are useful for pre-wetting the filter paper.

Remember to dispose of the waste from this experiment properly! Typically, the "polluted water" solution can be poured down the drain. But if any contaminating chemicals were used, dispose of it using responsible disposal methods.

Provide students with pH paper and a pH guide so they can determine the pH of the solution during different stages of the process: plain water, "polluted water" before treatment, after aeration, after filtering with one filter, and after using their final filter. Discuss how the different components in the solution affect the pH. How would the pH of the solution affect the rest of the environment? (Refer to pH table.)

Ask students to measure the volume before and after filtration. Younger students can describe it as more or less or use measuring spoons/cups. Older students can use labeled beakers or graduated cylinders.

Experiment with some simple chemical treatments. For example, add chlorine to a water sample as a class demo or with older students. Remember to wear protective equipment when handling chemicals!

Ask students: Does the order of the filter layers matter? Why or why not?

Direct students to filter their samples more than once, keeping a small sample after each filtration for comparison purposes. Does the water get (visually) cleaner on subsequent filtrations? Why or why not?

For younger students, conduct the activity as a demo with fewer filter choices. Demonstrate each filter type individually and then ask students to predict what will happen when both filter types are used together. Ask students to draw pictures of the results.

For older students, let the teams work more independently so more time is spent on the design portion of the project. Ask students to make their own suggestions for filter materials and other ways to treat the "polluted water." Have students bring in some materials from home to test as filters and have each team test its own items after you have modeled the filtration procedure.

water pollution student project

Students learn about water quality testing and basic water treatment processes and technology options. Biological, physical and chemical treatment processes are addressed, as well as physical and biological water quality testing, including testing for bacteria such as E. coli.

preview of 'Test and Treat Before You Drink' Lesson

Through the use of models and scientific investigation, students explore the causes of water pollution and its effects on the environment. Through the two associated activities, they investigate filtration and aeration processes that are used for removing pollutants from water.

preview of 'Splish, Splash, I Was Takin' a Bath!' Lesson

Cole, Joanna and Relf, Pat. The Magic School Bus – Wet All Over: A Book About the Water Cycle . New York, NY: Scholastic Inc., 1996 (ISBN 0-590-50833-4).

Glencoe Science: An Introduction to the Life, Earth and Physical Sciences . Student Edition. Blacklick, OH: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2002.

Hassard, Jack. Science as Inquiry – Active Learning, Project-Based, Web-Assisted and Active Assessment Strategies to Enhance Student Learning. Tucson, AZ: Good Year Books, 1999. (ISBN 0-673-57731-7)

Lucas, Eileen. Water: A Resource in Crisis . Chicago, IL: Children's Press, Inc., 1991.

Prentice Hall Science. Ecology Earth's Natural Resources Activity Book. NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1993.

Spurling Jennett, Pamela. Investigations in Science – Ecology. Westminster, CA: Creative Teaching Press, Inc., 1995.

Stille, Darlene. The New True Book – Water Pollution. Chicago, IL: Childrens Press, Inc., 1991.


Supporting program, acknowledgements.

The contents of this digital library curriculum were developed under grants from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education and National Science Foundation (GK-12 grant no. 0338326). However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the Department of Education or National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Last modified: November 11, 2020


  1. pollution model (air,water and land pollution)

    water pollution student project

  2. Pollution Project for School Students

    water pollution student project

  3. Water pollution school project

    water pollution student project


    water pollution student project

  5. water pollution working model for school science exhibition/science fair project

    water pollution student project

  6. Student Work

    water pollution student project


  1. Solutions Gallery: Water Pollution

  2. Water pollution 💧eassy


  4. "Water Pollution"

  5. Water pollution campaign !

  6. 8th Science Water Pollution


  1. When Did Water Pollution Start?

    Water pollution has been happening since the beginning of human history. However, the pollutants that most people think of today mostly began after the Industrial Revolution and became a significant problem in the late 1800s.

  2. What Is Water Pollution?

    Water pollution occurs when water is contaminated with chemicals and foreign substances that are harmful to humans, plants and animals. Water pollution is a serious ecological threat. Drinking contaminated water is hazardous to human and an...

  3. What Are the Pros and Cons of Water Pollution?

    Water pollution is the dumping of foreign materials in water. Water pollution has the following advantages: helps in disposing harmful materials off the land surface and is inexpensive.

  4. Latest Projects Based on Water Pollution

    Latest Projects Based on Water Pollution · 1. Ground Water Quality Assessment · 2. Hydropower using Treated Sewage Water · 3. Coconut Shell as

  5. School Project

    School Project: Water Pollution · Approaching a green infrastructure to improve storm water management system and reduce the hydraulic overloading of the

  6. 4th grade Water Pollution II. BIG IDEA: How do human a

    Student Project-Based Learning Outlines. I. Title and Grade Level: 4th grade. Water Pollution. II. BIG IDEA: How do human actions and activities effect affect

  7. 10 Hands-On Science Projects to Teach About Pollution

    In summary, students collect samples of air and water (even snow), put them in clear glass or plastic jars, and then manually “pollute” them.

  8. Water Pollution

    Taking the role of a water safety advocate, prepare a presentation to city council that will rank the pollution threat of a poultry farm, a textiles plant and a

  9. Water Pollution Project Report

    Industries should develop closed loop water supply schemes and domestic sewage must be used for irrigation. Qualified and experienced people must be consulted

  10. High School, Fight Water Pollution Science Projects

    Measure the effects of polluted water on living things. Or investigate how water becomes

  11. Water pollution research

    Ocean Pollution Project. This 3 to 5 day project involves students working alone or in a group researching different types of water

  12. The Dirty Water Project: Design-Build-Test Your Own Water Filters

    In this hands-on activity, students investigate different methods—aeration and filtering—for removing pollutants from water.

  13. How to make water pollution model for school project ...

    Amazing Paper Crafts Ideas | How to make Paper Craft | DIY Creative Craft for Everyone · Civil Engineering Project Topics For Final Year Students "Don't Miss

  14. WATER POLLUTION Final Year Project Topics and Materials

    Do you assist students with Assignment and Project Proposal? Yes! Call Our Instant Help Desk Now: (+234) 813-292-6373 and you will be responded to immediately.