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A lake on a rocky planetary surface in space

Detecting water in space: how science and engineering can help us learn about the solar system!

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Grade 6-8
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How to Teach These Units
Explore all Water in Extreme Environments offerings including background videos, downloads, learning pathways, and more!
How to Teach These Units
Explore all Water in Extreme Environments offerings including background videos, downloads, learning pathways, and more!

NASA Resources

NASA Videos

Recycling Water on Space Station
How to Teach These Units
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Water-in-Extreme-Environments-Unit-At-A-Glance
Water in Extreme Environments Unit at a Glance
pdf 840.61 KB
Water-in-Extreme-Environments-Learning-Progressions
Water in Extreme Environments Learning Progressions
pdf 1.41 MB
Water-in-Extreme-Environments-Back-Pocket-Activity-Essentials
Water in Extreme Environments Back Pocket Activity Essentials
pdf 1.74 MB
Water-in-Extreme-Environments-Tips-for-Interactivity
Water in Extreme Environments Tips for Interactivity
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Developing 21st Century Skills
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Learning Pathways

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Science Pathway

Planetary scientists often use the technologies developed by engineers to further their understanding of the planets, satellites, and smaller bodies in the solar system. Water is essential to all life as we know it, so it is an important resource to look for elsewhere in the solar system. Scientists propose that water is the best place to look for extraterrestrial life outside our planet. 

 

The science pathway supports youth exploration in the field of planetary science, with a focus on water. Youth explore how much, how accessible, and how usable water is on Earth and elsewhere in our solar system. They consider if water is potentially habitable on other planetary bodies, and they propose a planetary body to explore based on evidence of water. 

 

Activity 1: Water on Earth 

Youth explore the concept of water availability, accessibility, and usability on Earth. 

 

Activity 2: Water in the Solar System 

Youth explore where water is available in the solar system and begin to consider its accessibility and usability. 

 

Activity 3: Choose a Potential Water Reservoir to Explore and Share Out

Youth propose a planetary body to explore based on the availability, accessibility and usability of water and present their choice. 

Engineering Pathway

Water resource engineering focuses on the design of systems and equipment, including water treatment facilities, to ensure that people are provided with clean water for drinking, living, and recreation. Factors such as environmental pollution and drought conditions threaten the availability of clean, drinkable water for future generations. Access to drinkable water is not just a problem here on Earth—it is one of the biggest challenges facing planetary explorers, who must recycle as much water as possible to stay hydrated on long missions. 

 

In the engineering pathway, youth tackle water resource engineering to support people living in an extreme environment. They create a step-by-step process to increase the amount of water that can be reused by ordering the flow of water through filters. 

 

Prep Activity 1: What Is Engineering? 

Youth engage in an engineering design challenge using an Engineering Design Process (EDP), criteria, and constraints. 

 

Prep Activity 2: What Is Technology? 

Youth consider the definition of technology as any thing or process humans (engineers) design to solve a problem. The Special Report Video sets the context for the entire unit. 

 

Activity 1: A Grey Area 

Youth test the quality of and categorize model water samples using real tools. 

 

Activity 2: Investigating Filters 

Youth explore how different water filter materials reduce contaminants. 

 

Activity 3: Order Up! 

Youth apply what they learned in Activities 1 and 2 to improve water quality at least one level so it can be reused for a different purpose. 

 

Activity 4: Create a Process 

Youth apply what they learned in prior activities to design and test a water reuse process using filter materials and home piping reconfiguration. 

 

Activity 5: Improve a Process 

Youth improve their process to better meet the criteria of their extreme environment. 

 

Activity 6: Engineering Showcase 

Youth prepare presentations to communicate their water reuse process to others. 

How to Teach These Units
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Water in Extreme Environments FAQs

How much do I need to know about the water reuse process?

Everything you need to know is outlined in the Educator Guides and Educator Resources on our website. Definitely check out the seven short videos that introduce all concepts in the unit.

How do I help students understand the engineering process?

Use Prep Activity 1, which is designed as an introduction to the EDP. Make sure to post the Engineering Design Process poster and point out the steps to youth as they complete the process or do an in-depth reflection at the end.

How long does this unit take? How much preparation is involved?

Each activity is approximately 55 minutes. There are 11 activities in the entire unit, so budget about 11 hours of instructional time. Please allot 1 to 2 hours to familiarize yourself with each Educator Guide. If you are gathering your materials, plan a trip to a general merchandise big box store and a landscaping store. A quick reference for prep timing and activity timing is included in our Back Pocket Activity Essentials.

Do I need an assistant to run this unit? Is there special equipment needed?

An assistant would certainly be useful to assist large groups of youth in these activities, but if adequate preparation and cleanup time is available, it is entirely possible to lead these activities solo. Aside from the consumable materials listed in the Educator Guides, you will need access to a printer, access to the Internet, and ideally a projector to watch the videos in the Engineering Everywhere Prep Activity 2 and Science Series Activity 1 and any other visuals and videos on our website that you find useful and instructive.

What can be cut out if time is short?

The science and engineering pathways build on each other’s concepts but can stand alone. It is not necessary to complete one in order to teach the other, or to teach the pathways in a particular order. If youth are very familiar with technology and engineering, then the Engineering Everywhere Prep Activities 1 and 2 can be cut, with the exception of the Engineering Everywhere Special Report Video. If youth are inexperienced with the Engineering Design Process, we recommend that you include the Prep Activities. Because color is mostly unaffected by the filtration procedures in these activities, a charcoal filter demonstration over multiple days is included in the guide. If time is short, consider if this demonstration is important in aiding the understanding for your particular group of youth. Please allow ample time for creativity in the building Activities 4 and 5, and allow ample time at the end of each activity for reflection and cleanup.

How many youth should be in each group?

The materials list in the Engineering Guide is designed for 8 groups of 3 youth. Make sure that your groups aren't so large that there aren't enough tasks to go around. Also, assigning roles like the note taker, the materials gatherer, the tester, and the presenter will help everyone stay involved. If time allows, a team-building activity prior to beginning the unit can set the stage for collaborative success. Activity 2 in the Science Series can be done in larger groups.

How much will the materials cost? Do I have to use the exact materials listed?

You can purchase a complete materials kit online from the Museum of Science EiE Store for $499. If this is out of your price range, you can purchase the materials individually at any general merchandise big box store. A complete materials list is included on page xvii of the Engineering Guide and on page 10 of the Science Guide. Feel free to use your creativity to substitute materials if that works better for you, but test them out first to make sure they will work.

If I were to buy the materials in bulk on my own, are they easy to obtain? Are they expensive?

None of the materials in this unit are particularly difficult to find or individually expensive. You should be able to purchase everything you need at a big box store with grocery and craft sections, with an additional trip to a garden or landscaping supply store (for limestone, soil, and sand). Many of these materials might even be in your home, in your yard, or at the homes of your youth. Consider using the letter to families on page xxiii of the guide to crowd-source supplies. We have found that some activated charcoal works better than others for the yellow food color reduction demonstration. We found success with activated charcoal sold for fish tanks.

Where can I find a glossary of terms and acronyms used in this unit?

There is a glossary of terms included in both the Engineering Guide (p. xvi) and the Science Guide (p. 16).

What are some real-world examples of water filtration and reuse?

If time is available, consider having youth research or research as a group water issues in Flint, Michigan, the International Space Station, and war-zone refugee camps. If time is short, guide youth to page 7 of the Student Notebook and ask if youth have experience with any of these example filters.

What else can be done if groups finish early?

If only a few minutes remain, have these groups make flyers or posters for the Engineering Showcase! If there is more time disparity between groups, have these youth brainstorm or research real-world water contamination problems mentioned in the preceding question. In Activities P1, A3, A4, and A5, give the group new criteria and constraints. For example, in Activity 3, redesign your system so that you are reusing water at two or even three locations (may need to create a T-intersection) and maximize efficiency by shortening total pipe length by 4 inches or more.

Does it matter what type of potatoes we use?

No, all potatoes will work, and even an apple will work in a pinch. The best results would likely be achieved with a russet potato because it can be cut into similarly sized strips more easily and there is less surface area covered in skin.

How can I teach this lesson if I don't have access to a projector?

If you have time and materials available, you can demonstrate the concepts in the “Earth's Water” video with a gallon of water, 4 pre-labeled cups, and measuring spoons. Watch the video yourself to prepare and use the following measurements. You can even have students do this as an activity in groups. Cups and measurements: Fresh Water—9 Tbsp, containing the following: Frozen Water—4.5 Tbsp, Groundwater—4 Tbsp, Fresh Accessible Surface Water—remaining 8 drops.

Can I get instructions on how best to print the cards?

Download the PLANETS cards file from our website. Although printer settings vary, choose the following settings if offered: Actual Size, Print on both sides of paper, Flip on short edge, Landscape, Full color.

How many card decks should I make? Is it easier for students to have bigger groups?

You may want to consider a balance between group size and the number of decks you are able to print and cut. It is possible to do this lesson with only one deck of PLANETS cards and work together as a whole group to sort the cards in various ways. Two to four decks might serve your group better if you have a lot of youth doing this at the same time. While filling out the charts, only one deck of cards is used for the entire class.

Why were some moons left out?

Not all moons, asteroids, and dwarf planets are represented in the cards because there would be way too many cards (there are over 150 moons and millions of objects in our solar system)! The planetary bodies were chosen to represent the variety of planetary bodies in the solar system with respect to water.

Can youth choose Earth for analyzing the water reservoir or should I remove that card?

Depending on your group dynamic, you may want to remove the Earth cards. The Earth reservoir cards are a good example for the whole group to compare other reservoirs in an objective way.

How do we know if water is usable on other planets?

The short answer is, we don't. This is a big area of scientific uncertainty, which is just another way of saying we don't know. More exploration and data is needed to learn about the water on other planetary bodies. To learn how we can gather data from other planets without the risk of humans traveling there, consider using our unit on Remote Sensing. For the purposes of this activity, ask, “Do we already have evidence that its not usable? For example, is the water mixed with another chemical? Do we have evidence that it might have salinity? Use the information we do have to explore and find out!”

Do we know if water is habitable on other planets?

No. It’s important to highlight we don’t know if water is habitable on other planets. Life as we know it on Earth requires water, a source of carbon for organism metabolism, and a source of energy to fuel that organism metabolism. When looking for habitable water on other planets, the best we can say is that its potentially habitable. This is another big area of scientific uncertainty; see the previous question for more on scientific uncertainty. For the purposes of this activity, ask questions like “Do we already have evidence for water being habitable on that planetary body? For example, is the water liquid? Do we have evidence of a heat source? Use the information we do have to explore and find out!”

Can youth present their choices in different ways?

Yes, youth can present from an argument paragraph they crafted by the group, a drawn model, the score chart in the Science Notebook, p. 6, or the cards themselves. There is room for optional notes or drawings in the Science Notebook, pp. 7–8. You can offer youth the option of presenting their choice in a song, rap, play, or other artistic expression.

What are some resources that I can use to learn more about the planets, and other challenges to exploring the solar system like gravity, weather, extreme temperatures, radiation, great distances and the energy required to travel them?

There are many amazing NASA resources for youth to explore, plus many opportunities for educators to connect.

Is there a correct answer?

No, there is the potential for many different answers. The important part is that answers are justified with data. The activities may lead youth to choose the following cards with liquid water: Europa, Uranus, Titania, Ganymede, Callisto, Pluto, Titan, Triton, Enceladus, and Dione. It’s also entirely possible to have a justifiable reason for choosing a different planetary body to explore. What matters is that youth justify their selection with an evidence-based argument.

As the educator, should I have made a successful tower prior to leading this activity?

It is not totally necessary to have a successful tower made. However, making one in advance can help you identify sticking points for youth ahead of time. It also may be helpful to familiarize yourself with the strategies of folding or rolling cards, in case youth need a little more instruction.

What is the difference between criteria and constraints? What are some relatable examples?

When engineering a device, the criteria are the requirements for solving the problem. The constraints are factors that limit how you can solve the problem. For example, say you need a funnel to pour flour into a small jar. You don't have a funnel (the problem). You need to design something to get the flour into the small opening without spilling it (the criteria). All you have is paper and a roll of clear tape (the constraints). One solution might be to roll the paper into a cone with a small opening and tape it so that it doesn't unroll (the engineered device).

Can I allow my students time to fix their structures or improve their designs?

Sure! If you have extra time available it would be a great idea to introduce the "Improve" step of the Engineering Design Process.

My PowerPoint isn't working. What are some troubleshooting tips?

Make sure you are in presentation mode. Also, press the home button on the answer slide to return to the game board. This should work on both Mac and PC platforms. And as always, try a whole-computer reboot. If this is still not working for you, you can set up a low-tech version using sticky notes and chart paper or a whiteboard. This option is depicted on Engineering Guide p. 10.

Did we use the Engineering Design Process in this activity?

Since youth are learning context and vocabulary in order to design their own reuse system, this would be in the "Identify" step.

What are some other real-world examples that I can use to get youth engaged?

If time is available, consider having youth do individual or whole group research on water issues in Flint, Michigan, the International Space Station, and war-zone refugees camps.

The 0–2 scales for clarity and color are very counterintuitive. Is there a way to explain or adjust this so that makes it easier?

With the exception of pH, the higher the number, the higher the quality. The lower the number, the lower the quality.

According to the coding for pure water, greywater, and waste water, why do none of my samples fit the requirements?

The categories were created with the model samples in mind; however, it is possible to get samples that score outside these ranges. For example, you may have a sample you would classify as greywater but it scored 1 for color based on how youth define color (e.g., is white a color?). Refer to the Back Pocket Activity Essentials for this activity for a visual cheat sheet that may help.

What does pH paper tell you? Why do you use it?

pH paper is a visual indicator used to determine whether a substance is acidic, neutral, or basic.

It is very difficult to see the clarity in the filter base when only a 1/2 cup is used. How can I address this?

Pour the filtered water from the base into a measuring cup and reading clarity through this. Alternatively, if you made or don't mind making extra water samples, have youth filter a whole cup.

I'm concerned about youth trying this at home. Should I let them know that this process may not work in “real life”?

Yes, it's important to acknowledge that you can't treat all used water with filtration. For example, you don't want to filter toilet water and re-use it because filtration will not remove all biological contaminants. You can also point out that industrial water filters use expensive equipment and large amounts of filter materials, and they have undergone many rounds of testing and improvement before they are put to use.

Why aren't the groups using charcoal?

Charcoal is a great filter material, but food coloring is tough to remove. Charcoal takes a long period of time to work on color, which is why it is set up as a multi-day demonstration in the Engineering Guide. It is not possible to achieve results within the short timeframe youth are filtering the water samples.

Do some materials work better than others?

Yes, have the youth compare and contrast each material in the chart on Engineering Notebook p. 9. Industrial filters use different materials depending on what contaminants they want to remove.

Are some contaminants harder to remove or reduce than others?

Yes, as mentioned above color is difficult to remove, as are biological contaminants. In this unit, color and pH are more difficult than visible particulates and cloudiness.

Are there some contaminants that cannot be removed with filters?

Yes, anything dissolved in water will pass through a physical filter. A chemical filter (like limestone) will reduce or remove certain chemicals dissolved in water. Often, water is boiled, evaporated, or distilled to get things like salt out.

Why were some rooms left out of redesigning water usage for a house?

The kitchen and rooms that don't create used water were not included for simplicity. Waste water associated with cooking would add an unnecessary dimension of complexity to the unit. This would be a good opportunity to brainstorm with students other contaminants and how to treat them, however, in order to extend the unit.

Is there more than one right answer?

Yes, just like in real life, there are always multiple ways to solve this problem. Help youth understand this fact by modeling the expectation that there can be many viable solutions, and allow them to make design choices even if it is not the way that you would have done it. Encourage youth to think outside the box or even “think outside the home” to the landscaped and edible plants.

How can I make this activity more inclusive for those that don't live in a house or have washer/dryers in their home?

Use the term “home” rather than “house.” Ask youth to think about how a laundromat could reuse water (e.g., in a local park). Ask, “Do you think a whole apartment building/complex or group home could reuse water?”

Is there more than one right answer?

Yes, just like in real life, there are always multiple ways to solve this problem. Help youth understand this by modeling the expectation that there can be many viable solutions, and allow them to make design choices even if it is not the way that you would have done it. Encourage youth to think outside the box or even “think outside the home” to the landscaped and edible plants.

Should the students engineer processes that are different from those already used? Can there be more than one line of re-use?

This depends on the amount of time you have to complete your unit. If you have limited time, the same or similar processes can be used and then improved in Activity 5. With more time, consider adding a constraint to spur creativity. For example, require a new design with only one output, or say youth can only use one filter base but can use multiple materials.

Is there a way to structure this activity so that it is self-paced?

For students who finish early, see examples of ways to extend the unit in the overview FAQs.

How do we help kids who struggle with confidence?

First ask questions to identify the problem, then empathize with youth. After it's clear that you see, hear, and understand, try using our own experience or real-world examples of successful people who have struggled along the way but kept at it. If youth have struggled in school, make it clear that there is no consequence to taking a risk in this unit and trying things out. There is no reward or consequence for succeeding or failing; the whole point is to try, test, and improve.

More optional inspiration: "Imagination is more important than knowledge"
—Albert Einstein

How do we help kids with failure?

Failure is a big part of the Engineering Design Process. Engineers learn from every mistake they make and the ultimate solution is better off for it. Engineers sometimes make mistakes on purpose so they can learn how to avoid them later when it's more crucial to get it right. Mistakes and failure can even lead to new inventions to solve problems that weren't even part of the original goal. It often takes multiple rounds of failure and improvement to achieve the desired results.

Does the source water for laundry, shower, sink, and toilet need to meet any requirements or is this subjective and based on your own preferences?

Tap water is sufficient for the activities in this unit. Note that water quality is an important issue, and it can be different in different cities and homes depending upon the water source, water treatment, and piping used. If time is available, consider having youth research or research as a group water issues in Flint, Michigan, the International Space Station, and war zone refugee camps. If time is short, guide youth to Engineering Notebook p. 7 and ask if they have experience with any of these example filters.

What are some other constraints that I can add to inspire improvements for those who finish early?

Ask the youth, “Can you redesign your system so that you are reusing water at two or even three locations. If you change your location to the International Space Station, how would you need to improve your design to be even more effective?”

How can we help students who do not want to modify what they have made?

Focus for a minute on how great it is that the youth are proud of their process! Ask them what aspects they are proud of and do not want to lose. Explain that it's important when improving a process to not lose what does work well but improve the aspects that don't. Point out how much more proud they'll be when the process is even better.

How do we help kids with failure?

Start by empathizing and validating their feelings. Then explain that failure is a big part of the Engineering Design Process. Engineers learn from every mistake they make and the ultimate device is better off for it. Mistakes and failure can even lead to new inventions to solve problems that weren't even part of the original goal. Explain this to youth and say that their failure is a common and important part of the process.

How can I get youth to communicate their process and data clearly? How can I provide more scaffolding for this concept?

Try providing examples of maps, graphs, charts, and annotated drawings so that students can put their own data into a provided format.

How can I get my parents and organization excited about the Engineering Showcase?

Consider having youth run a marketing campaign by using brain-breaks or downtime to create posters or flyers. Send invitations to family, administrators, staff, community partners, etc.

I have never done this before. How should I prepare for the showcase?

The Engineering Guide has a flyer on page 83 that you can copy and post all over your organization. Try having youth that finish early decorate these and post them outside the room. You can send this flyer home with parents as well as an invitation if time is limited for creating a letter. Consider offering snacks and drinks to make it more of an event. Set time aside prior to the Showcase so that youth can help set up stations to show their guests what they made and how to test it. You can even have youth practice the presentations.

All Downloads

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Science

Download Name Description File Data
Water - Science - All Files
All Science Files
These resources provide all the information you need to teach the Science Activites in this unit.
zip 13.96 MB
Water-in-Extreme-Environments-Science-Educator-Guide
Science Educator Guide
This guide explains each of the Science Activities in this unit.
pdf 4.41 MB
Water-in-Extreme-Environments-Science-Notebook
Science Notebook
Learners record information in this notebook as they complete Science Activities.
pdf 123.23 KB
Water-in-Extreme-Environments-Planetary-Science-Cards
Planetary Science Cards
Learners explore information on these cards to learn about water on different bodies in the solar system.
pdf 6.34 MB
Water-in-the-Solar-System-Poster-web
Water in Extreme Environments Poster (Web Size)
This poster shows how much water exists on bodies in the solar system.
jpeg 569.81 KB
Water-in-the-Solar-System-Poster_legal-size_150dpi-for-print
Water in Extreme Environments Poster (Legal Size)
This poster shows how much water exists on bodies in the solar system.
pdf 4.42 MB
Water-in-the-Solar-System-Poster_59x34-5_150dpi-for-print
Water in Extreme Environments Poster (Large Format)
This poster shows how much water exists on bodies in the solar system.
pdf 40.42 MB
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Engineering

Download Name Description File Data
Water - Engineering - All Files
All Engineering Files
These resources provide all the information you need to teach the Engineering Activities in this unit.
zip 36.01 MB
Water-In-Extreme-Environments-Engineering-Educator-Guide
Engineering Educator Guide
This guide explains each of the Engineering Activities in this unit.
pdf 10.85 MB
Water-In-Extreme-Environments-Engineering-Journal
Engineering Notebook
Learners record information in this notebook as they complete Engineering Activities.
pdf 7.76 MB
Water-In-Extreme-Environments-Engineering-Journal-in-Spanish
Engineering Notebook - Spanish
Learners record information in this notebook as they complete Engineering Activities.
pdf 11.13 MB
Water-In-Extreme-Environments-Engineering-Materials-List
Engineering Materials List
This list describes all the materials needed to teach the Engineering Adventures and their quantities.
pdf 141.29 KB
Engineering-Design-Process_Poster
Engineering Design Process Poster
This poster shows the steps of the process learners use to engineer technologies.
pdf 5.12 MB
Water-In-Extreme-Environments-Engineering-Tech-Trivia
Engineering Tech Trivia
This game introduces the concept of technology.
pptx 243.97 KB
Water-Testing-Cheat-Sheet
Water Testing Cheat Sheet
This sheet shows the scores for each measure of water quality.
pdf 85.33 KB

At Home

Download Name Description File Data
Water Home - All
All At Home Files
These resources provide all the information needed to complete the at-home activities.
zip 7.97 MB
Water_in_Extreme_Environments_Game_Instructions
Water in Extreme Environments Game Instructions
These instructions explain how to play the Water in Extreme Environments game at home.
pdf 2.03 MB
Water_in_Extreme_Environments_Game_Cards
Water in Extreme Environments Game Cards
Players use these cards in the Water in Extreme Environments game.
pdf 6.3 MB
How to Teach These Units
Explore all Water in Extreme Environments offerings including background videos, downloads, learning pathways, and more!

Engineering Showcase

Youth prepare presentations to communicate their water reuse process to others.

Youth Will Know
  • Communicating with others is an important part of the Engineering Design Process. 
  • As engineers, they have valuable knowledge to share about the problem they have solved. 
  • They can communicate how they designed their water reuse process using an EDP.

Activity Downloads

A6_Water_Engineering_Showcase_Educator_Guide
Engineering Showcase Educator Guide
pdf 666.83 KB
A6_Water_Engineering_Showcase_Engineering_Notebook
Engineering Showcase Engineering Notebook (English)
pdf 237.56 KB
A6_Water_Engineering_Showcase_Engineering_Notebook_Spanish
Engineering Showcase Engineering Notebook (Spanish)
pdf 414.55 KB
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Activity Trivia Icon

Setup

The Educator Guide has a script, materials list, and prep directions. Be sure to have it open and ready to help guide you through every activity. 

  • Post EDP Poster. 
  • Set up the Materials Table with remaining materials. 
  • If needed, replenish samples and copy new reuse plan cards, Educator Guide p. 53. 
  • Invite community, including youths’ family and friends, to the Showcase. 
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Guiding Question

How can we share information about our water reuse processes with others?

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Youth Will Do

  • Communicate about their water reuse processes. 
  • Explain how they used an EDP to design the processes. 
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Did You Know

  • Engineers and scientists present their discoveries and inventions all the time at professional conferences around the world. In academia, this is called scholarship. 
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Quick Tips

  • An authentic audience inspires more thought in presentations. Pull in random members of your organization, if needed. 
  • Consider the following again if using a different room: 
    • Have paper towels and a sink handy. 
    • To avoid stains, set pH strips on paper towels. 
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Glossary

Communicate (in engineering): to share information, data, or ideas in order to improve designs or inspire new designs 

Activity Timing

5 min
Introduction
15 min
Preparing the Presentation
30 min
Engineering Showcase
10 min
Reflect
60 min
Total
How to Teach These Units
Explore all Water in Extreme Environments offerings including background videos, downloads, learning pathways, and more!

Water In Extreme Environments Game

Play the game and level up!

Game Elements

Water in Extreme Environments Game – Letter to Families
Letter to Families
pdf 54.25 KB
Water_in_Extreme_Environments_Game_Instructions
Water in Extreme Environments Game Instructions
pdf 2.03 MB
Water_in_Extreme_Environments_Game_Cards
Water in Extreme Environments Game Cards
pdf 6.3 MB

Water in Extreme Environments Videos

Water in Extreme Environments Science Snippets (Playlist)
Interview with the Scientists behind the Water in Extreme Environments Game
Water in Extreme Environments Science Snippets (Playlist)
Interview with the Scientists behind the Water in Extreme Environments Game
How to Teach These Units
Explore all Water in Extreme Environments offerings including background videos, downloads, learning pathways, and more!

Improve a Process

Youth improve their process to better meet the criteria of their extreme environment.

Youth Will Know
  • The improve step allows engineers to reflect upon and alter their original designs. 
  • They can improve technologies they have designed. 
  • Not getting it the first time helps make technology better. 

Activity Downloads

A5_Improve_a_Process_Educator_Guide
Improve a Process Educator Guide
pdf 2.53 MB
A5_Improve_a_Process_Engineering_Notebook
Improve a Process Engineering Notebook (English)
pdf 203.88 KB
A5_Improve_a_Process_Engineering_Notebook_Spanish
Improve a Process Engineering Notebook (Spanish)
pdf 280.22 KB
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Activity Trivia Icon

Setup

The Educator Guide has a script, materials list, and prep directions. Be sure to have it open and ready to help guide you through every activity. 

  • Post EDP Poster. 
  • Post Extreme Environments Quality Chart, Educator Guide p. 48. 
  • Create a Materials Store with remaining filter materials. 
  • Copy and distribute Engineering Showcase Invitations, Educator Guide p. 59. 
  • If needed, replenish samples and copy new reuse plan cards, Educator Guide p. 53. 
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Guiding Question

How can we make our water reuse processes better and more cost efficient?

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Youth Will Do

  • Improve their water reuse processes.  
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Did You Know

  • The International Space Station filters and treats every drop of water used on board so it can be used again the next day. 
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Quick Tips

  • If groups struggled in Activity 4, use this as additional time to meet criteria. 
  • If groups accomplished criteria in Activity 4, use budget contraints to improve the process. 
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Glossary

Improve (in engineering): To make a process better than the first design. Examples include something being cheaper, easier, or better at producing results. 

Activity Timing

5 min
Introduction
5 min
Planning Improvements
35 min
Improve
10 min
Reflect
55 min
Total
How to Teach These Units
Explore all Water in Extreme Environments offerings including background videos, downloads, learning pathways, and more!

Create a Process

Youth apply what they learned in prior activities to design and test a water reuse process using filter materials and home piping reconfiguration.

Youth Will Know
  • Using the steps of the Engineering Design Process can help guide them to a successful solution. 
  • Engineers use what they learn in the identify and investigate steps to inform their design decisions. 
  • They can engineer a process to improve water quality so it can be reused for other purposes. 

Activity Downloads

A4_Create_a_Process_Educator_Guide
Create a Process Educator Guide
pdf 958.87 KB
A4_Create_a_Process_Engineering_Notebook
Create a Process Engineering Notebook (English)
pdf 1.12 MB
A4_Create_a_Process_Engineering_Notebook_Spanish
Create a Process Engineering Notebook (Spanish)
pdf 3.08 MB
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Setup

The Educator Guide has a script, materials list, and prep directions. Be sure to have it open and ready to help guide you through every activity. 

  • Post EDP Poster. 
  • Make 8 more filter bases, Educator Guide p. 37. 
  • Post Investigation Chart, Educator Guide p. 32, and Quality Chart, Educator Guide p. 48. 
  • Create model water samples, replace "toilet" with "space toilet." 
  • Set up Materials Table: spoons, filter materials, rinsed charcoal. 
  • Copy for each group: Water Reuse Plan, Educator Guide p. 53. 
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Guiding Question

How can we design a water reuse process to solve the problem of water scarcity in an extreme environment? 

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Youth Will Do

  • Use data from prior investigations to imagine, create, and test a water reuse process for an extreme environment where water is scarce. 
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Did You Know

  • Failure is a big part of the Engineering Design Process. Engineers sometimes make mistakes on purpose so they can learn how to avoid them later when it's more crucial to get it right. 
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Quick Tips

  • There are multiple correct answers. 
  • #1—Mars is a basic challenge. 
  • #3—ISS is more advanced. 
  • Criteria vary by Extreme Environment. 
  • Same constraints for all: 2 filter bases. 
  • Add materials constraint to conserve for Activity 5. 
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Glossary

Extreme Environment: a place where it is difficult for people to survive 

Related Videos

Engineering Everywhere Special Report: Water Reuse

Activity Timing

10 min
Introduction
5 min
Plan
40 min
Create and Test
5 min
Reflect
60 min
Total
How to Teach These Units
Explore all Water in Extreme Environments offerings including background videos, downloads, learning pathways, and more!

Order Up!

Youth apply what they learned in Activities 1 and 2 to improve water quality at least one level so it can be reused for a different purpose.

Youth Will Know
  • When water is limited, it can be filtered to remove contaminants/improve quality so it can be reused for different purposes. 
  • Water quality determines the order water can be reused for specific locations. 
  • There can be multiple solutions to the same problem. 

Activity Downloads

A3_Order_Up_Educator_Guide
Order Up Educator Guide
pdf 862.84 KB
A3_Order_Up_Engineering_Notebook
Order Up Engineering Notebook (English)
pdf 234.75 KB
A3_Order_Up_Engineering_Notebook_Spanish
Order Up Engineering Notebook (Spanish)
pdf 226.08 KB
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Activity Trivia Icon

Setup

The Educator Guide has a script, materials list, and prep directions. Be sure to have it open and ready to help guide you through every activity. 

  • Post EDP Poster. 
  • Fill in chart on Mapping Greywater with student data, Educator Guide pp. 43–45. 
  • Make copies of map and tape together for each group. 
  • Get a head start on prep for Activity 4. 
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Guiding Question

How can we change the flow of water in a home so that it can be reused?

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Youth Will Do

  • Engineer a process to filter a limited amount of water so it can be reused for different purposes. 
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Did You Know

  • Many buildings around the world are already piped to use reclaimed water in toilets. Reclaimed means that waste water has been treated or filtered for reuse.
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Quick Tips

  • Set up pipe color key prior to design. 
  • There are many correct answers. 
  • Criteria  
    • work in groups 
    • in/out for all places 
    • Greywater reuse 
    • Clay= filter locations
  • Constraints 
    • 5 straws each color 
    • filter improves 1 step 
    • cannot reuse toilet 
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Glossary

Greywater Process: a process that improves the quality of used water and then uses it again for another purpose 

Related Videos

Engineering Everywhere Special Report: Water Reuse

Activity Timing

5 min
Introduction
35 min
A Greywater Process
10 min
Reflect
50 min
Total