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Hydration Nation - Virtual

This workshop explores water quality and the importance of healthy water systems.

Water quality properties and qualities of drinking water are discussed. Students conduct pH tests and a water quality analysis to determine the quality of various water samples. Further students measure the turbidity of the water samples using a secchi disk and build their own filter to clean their water samples. Lastly, students learn about the impact of oil spills on the environment. 

This virtual outreach activity is split into a pre-activity document - i.e., workshop overview and list of materials with preparation instructions for both the volunteer and educator, a post-activity document - i.e., extra information and resources for the educator after the activity, and a PowerPoint presentation with presenter notes to help lead the workshop virtually.

What You Need

All activities will need a Hydration Nation Lab Report

Activity 1a and 1b: pH Testing and Water Quality

  • Tall cup (>15 cm height and >10cm in diameter if possible) 
  • Baking soda (1 tbsp.)
  • Vitamin C tablet (or PC Diet Sparking Soda, vinegar, lemon juice, tomato juice, orange juice)
  • 3 Regular pH strips
  • 3 Narrow pH strips
  • Tape and Scissors

Activity 2a: Turbidity Test

  • Elastic (or string)
  • Sediment: peat, soil, sand
  • Tape
  • Secchi Disk
  • Washer
  • Tall cups (x3)
  • Ruler
  • Water bottle filled with water (or a cup or mug)

Activity 2b: Filtering Activity

  • Plastic Water Bottle
  • Scissors
  • Filter Material: Cotton balls, sand, gravel, coffee filter, cheese cloth (can also use beads, mesh, rocks, paper towel, sponge)

Activity 3: Environmental Crisis

  • Cooking oil (2-3 tbsp.)
  • Plastic container
  • Paper towels
  • Cotton balls
  • Cleaning materials: pipette, cotton balls, string, straw
  • Cocoa (or oil colouring)

PowerPoint:

Pre-Activity Document:

 

Safety Notes

Ensure you are familiar with Let's Talk Science's precautions with respect to safe delivery of virtual outreach to youth. These precautions can be found in the manual for this activity. 

We will be using a lot of liquids and different substances for this session. Please keep them away from your electronics/devices. 

Keep some paper towel nearby to clean up any spills in your workstation. 
 

What To Do

Pre-Activity Prep:

Students must complete the following PRIOR to the workshop.

  • Print out the following sheets (3 sheets):
    • Hydration Nation Lab Report
    • Secchi Desk Template (only print this template if you have not been provided a Secchi disk in advance)
  • Other preparation:
    • Fill three tall cups or containers with approximately 1/4 cup of tap water.
    • Cut out the secchi disk circle from the "Secchi Disk Template"
    • Cut plastic water bottle in half horizontally. 
    • Have paper towels or cloths on hand to clean up any spills.

Activity 1a: pH Testing

  1. Prepare the three water samples with a 1/4 cup of water. 
    • Sukita River - 1/4 cup of tap water
    • Camada Lake - 1/4 cup of tap water with 1 tbsp. of baking soda
    • Kisula Bog - 1/4 cup of water with Vitamin C tablet
  2. Use the wide range pH strips to test out the water samples. Use a different strip for each sample.
  3. Use the narrow range pH strips to measure the water samples. Use a different strip for each sample. Remember to label your pH strips and record your observations on your worksheet. 
  4. Discuss the results of the pH testing. 

Activity 1b: Water Quality

  1. Compare the results from the Hydration Nation Lab report to the Canadian Water Quality Guidelines.
  2. Rank the water quality of each of the water samples on your worksheet.

Activity 2a: Turbidity Test

  1. Fill your 3 glasses from activity 1 until they are nearly fill using the extra water in your water bottle/4th cup. 
  2. Let's assemble the secchi disk. Tie one end of the string to the washer.
  3. Thread the string through the middle of the secchi disk.
  4. Tape the secchi disk to the washer so that they don't separate when you submerge them. 
  5. Tie the string to a straw, which will act as a handle. 
  6. Create our water sample in a large cup: Mix a spoonful of sand with the Sukita River (tap river) sample.
  7. Lower the secchi disk into the water.
    • At the point you can no longer see the secchi disk, stop lowering the disk and pinch the string right above the water. 
    • Remove the disk from the water while still pinching the string.
    • Approximately measure the length of the string from the disk to where you are pinching.
    • Record this length on your worksheet.
  8. Repeat the steps with the other two samples of water. Record your observations. 
    • Mix 1 spoonful of soil with the Camada water sample (tap water and baking soda)
    • Mix 1 spoonful of sand, soil and peat with the Kisula sample (tap vitamin with vitamin C)

Activity 2b: Building a Water Filter

  1. If you have not already, cut the plastic water bottle in half horizontally.
  2. Wrap the mesh around the opening of the top half of the bottle (where the cap would normally be) and secure with an elastic.
  3. Fill the top half of the bottle with sand, cotton balls, coffee filters, and any other material of your choice in an order that you think will produce the cleanest water.
  4. Place the top half of the water bottle inverted into the bottom half of the bottle.
  5. Run one of your samples through the filter.

Activity 3: Environmental Crisis

  1. Mix cocoa or the oil food colouring into the oil. 
  2. Pour the oil into the tub/bowl of water.
  3. Using the materials you have, contain the oil spill and clean as much of it as possible. 

Discovery

Why Does It Matter?

Throughout this workshop we have examined some of the physical and chemical characteristics of water and its importance in our life and environment. Water is important because it helps to maintain the Earth’s climate and dilute pollutants in the environment. Since all living things are made up mostly of water, it is also essential to all life. There is no life without water – it’s the first thing we look for on other planets! 
 

Why Does It Matter?

Throughout this workshop we have examined some of the physical and chemical characteristics of water and its importance in our life and environment. Water is important because it helps to maintain the Earth’s climate and dilute pollutants in the environment. Since all living things are made up mostly of water, it is also essential to all life. There is no life without water – it’s the first thing we look for on other planets! 
 

Resources

Pre-Activity Document:

Post-Activity Document:

PowerPoint Presentation:

 

Resources

Pre-Activity Document:

Post-Activity Document:

PowerPoint Presentation:

 

Check out additional resources (articles, career profiles and more) on these topics from Let’s Talk Science: