Enabling a Better Future

Water for Life

Students will collect water from their local dam, creek or river or other site of significance and examine the water’s turbidity as well as chemical and/or microbial composition. This will include for example, examining the water under a microscope and measuring important parameters such as pH, nitrates, phosphates, and chloride, and possibly examining microbial growth on agar plates.
As a next step, they will look at ways to purify the water, including through building filtration systems using materials of their choice (such as plant fibres). After filtration, the water will be tested again to evaluate the effectiveness of different filtration procedures. Connecting to stories from local Elders or other First Nation scientists on the importance of the waterway and its management is encouraged.


Requirements: The time commitment required is from one to four class periods, depending on the complexity requested.

Learnings: Students will explore the quality of water in their local environment using kits to check physical, chemical and/or microbial properties. Local indigenous knowledge and stories about waterways can be incorporated into the project. Lower secondary students will learn about soluble and insoluble contaminants, microbes, particle size for filtration and measures of purity. Upper secondary students will incorporate their chemistry knowledge and discuss different cations and anions that may be present, their origins and how they could be removed

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Acknowledgment of Country
Macquarie University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the Macquarie University land, the Wallumattagal clan of the Dharug nation - whose cultures and customs have nurtured, and continue to nurture, the land since Dreamtime.