Tapwater Testing.... What's in it for Students?

Background Standards Objectives Students


Testing the water that comes intoour homes, workplaces and schools is a big business, and for goodreason! It is easy to take for granted the life sustaining propertiesof water.

The standard answer by students to"Where doesyour water come from?"is...... "From thefaucet!". It isvery fruitful in process thinking to walk them back through thefaucets, into the wells, resevoirs, and up into the clouds.(see linksto "Weather" for more)

In fact, understanding the watercycle, the solvent properties of water, mixtures, solutions,concentrations of additives (both natural and man-made) can be a bigpart of a multi-year integratedstudies approach toscience education.


This lesson addresses the following California Science Content Standards.

Grade 6

Life, Earth, & Physical Sciences

6b: Different natural energy and material resources, including air, soil, rocks, minerals, petroleum, fresh water, wildlife, and forests, and classify them as renewable or nonrenewable.

Investigation & Experimentation


The creation by students of acollaborative database of tapwater information, combined with riverwater studies, and information on public water supplies, can be usedby students of many ages to work with high order problems concerningthe science, and politics, of water in our county, state, andbeyond.


€Tapwater Tour

The "Tapwater Tour" is a mini unitavailable from a variety of distributors.(create link) It is aneasily managed introduction to water study, or can be inserted almostany time into work on introductory chemistry or environmentalstudies....or a health class for that matter!

At the end of about 8-10 classperiods, students will have an introduction to pH, be able to test for and also observe evidence of copper, iron, chlorine, and minerals (hardness) in water. They will be able toexplain how different chemicalfactors in tapwater can cause interactions with the pipes and other surfaces, whichis a wonderful and important complement to their understandings ofhow air quality(acid rain) and groundwater contamination contributeto the quality of water supplies.

Other Resources andExtensions

In the following pages andlinks we'll post a variety of materials that canbe easily adapted for use in classrooms 4-12. Some will beworks-in-progress, others will be time testedlessons, labs, andreference materials. You'll also find templates for everything fromfieldtrip proposals, to boilerplate for grantapplications.

Tapwater home

Activity Page



The Source

Teacher's Corner

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