Water in Extreme Environments

Getting Started

  1. Watch the Videos
  2. Review FAQs, Vocabulary, and Downloads (see below).
  3. Increase interactivity, links to 21st century skills, and more with Additional Educator Resources

Unit at a Glance

Use this resource to quickly check key learning objectives for this unit. Includes Learning Progressions ~ Press image to see enlargements in a new window.


Water in Extreme Environments engages youth in collaborative teams to engineer water filters with basic materials, and by playing a game to learn about where water can be found in our solar system.


Use this list to check terms and definitions for this unit.

Science Snippets

Not a scientist or engineer? That is okay - It takes just a few minutes to get the content you need for supporting youth in this unit. Watch Now.

YouTbe screenshot to show playlist iconAccess the full playlist by tapping the 3-bar menu at the top-right of the video.


Testing the Waters image with graphic of water being used in various ways with a cyclical connection

Engineering Educator Guide

Grades 6–8 Engineering
8 Activities; 1 hour per activity

Back Pocket Activity Essentials – Engineering

Press image to see enlargements.

What's Included?

  • Engineering Educator Guide
  • Engineering Journal
  • Engineering Journal in Spanish
  • Engineering Design Process_Poster
  • Engineering Materials List


Life on Earth requires access to clean water, and as populations grow, the demand for water increases. Youth participating in this unit become water resource engineers as they use the steps of the Engineering Design Process to design creative ways to reuse water.

Engineering Context-Setting Videos for Youth

Show this video during Prep Activity 2 (P2). It is essential to help build context for youth.

How To Videos for Educators

Note: These videos are meant to help educators set up materials. It is recommended that educators DO NOT show the How-To videos to youth in order to promote creativity and encourage multiple solutions to the problem identified in the activity.

YouTbe screenshot to show playlist iconAccess the full playlist by tapping the 3-bar menu at the top-right of the video.


Water in Extreme Environments Science band cover image of a planet, moon, and moon surface

Science Educator Guide

Grades 6–8 Planetary Science
4 Activities; 1 hour per activity

What's Included?

  • Science Educator Guide
  • Science Notebook
  • Planetary Science Cards
  • Poster (web | legal size | large format)


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 propose a planetary body to explore based on evidence of water.

Back Pocket Activity Essentials – Science

Press image to see enlargements.

Science, Engineering, or STEM?

The PLANETS Science and Engineering modules are complementary and help youth integrate engineering, technology, and science; however, each guide can also stand alone.

Additional Resources

Additional Resources for Educators

  • Unit At A Glance
  • Learning Progressions
  • Back Pocket Activity Essentials
  • Tips for Interactivity 
  • Developing 21st Century Skills

Connect with NASA

Additional Resource Links

Going Beyond the Unit

Purpose: Develop deeper planetary science content. Explore additional resources such as STEM careers, extension activities, NASA missions, etc.

Cool NASA Videos

YouTbe screenshot to show playlist iconAccess the full playlist by tapping the 3-bar menu at the top-right of the video.

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