Water in Extreme Environments: Activity – Engineering A4

Water in Extreme Environments - Engineering A4 Front

Activity Timing

Introduction: 10 min
Plan: 5 min
Create and Test: 40 min
Reflect: 5 min

60 min. Total

Prep Corner

  • Post EDP Poster
  • Make 8 more filter bases, p. 37
  • Post Investigation Chart, p. 32, & Quality Chart, 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, p.53

Key Terms

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

Water in Extreme Environments FAQ's

Water in Extreme Environments Vocab List

EDP Steps Used In This Activity

Plan, Create, Test


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

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

Videos Related to this Activity

Science Snippet: Build your content knowledge to help answer youth's questions.

Replay the Special Report video from 3:45 to 6:30 to remind youth how engineers at Arcosanti designed a process to reuse water.

Science Reflection

Today we used data from prior investigations to imagine, create and test a water reuse process for an extreme environment where water is scarce.

Key Take Away

We can engineer a process to improve water quality so it can be reused for other purposes.

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.