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

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Career In STEM
Grade Levels
8th - 12th, Homeschool
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
16 pages
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Did you know that 1.6 million people die annually from unclean drinking water? In this mini-unit, students work to solve this world health crisis using STEM concepts of water filtration and treatment. Students first learn about the severity of drinking water quality issues in 3rd world countries. They then research, plan, and build their own water purification devices. Devices are tested and results are compared (using turbidity meters). Then comparisons are made among student-made water filtration devices, natural cycles, commercially available devices, and processes used in water treatment plants. Students then participate in a project-based assessment to integrate the knowledge of existing filtration devices, water treatment plant operations, and natural cycles to plan and design the most effective water treatment plant possible.

This mini-unit is directly aligned with the following NGSS Standards:




Overarching Student Learning Objectives:

- identify problems associated with drinking water in 3rd world countries

- create a device to filter water

- measure the turbidity of a water sample and analyze results

- summarize the steps of water treatment plant operations

- identify natural water purification methods

- integrate the knowledge of existing filtration devices, water treatment plant operations, and natural cycles to plan and design the most effective water treatment plant possible

Mini-Unit Essential Question:

How can we give all people access to clean drinking water?


Four 90 minute lessons

Purchase Includes:

- unit overview (1 page)

- full unit materials list (1 page)

- four 90-minute in-person lesson plans in 5E format; also includes links to online resources, rubrics, and student worksheets (15 page PDF document)

This is a comprehensive mini-unit with all required materials - zero prep! Additionally, the download comes as an editable Word document enabling you to customize rubrics and/or student worksheets as desired.

This resource works best with in-person learning.

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Total Pages
16 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
4 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity. Examples of human activities can include urbanization, building dams, and dissemination of invasive species.
Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.


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