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Assessment Resource Centre (ARC)

  1. Stage 3
  2. Science and Technology
  3. Activities
  4. Designing and investigating a method by which everyday materials can be used to filter dirty water
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Designing and investigating a method by which everyday materials can be used to filter dirty water

Grade Work Samples
End of Stage 3 (end of Year 6)
Grade C Ali  
Grade D Nicky  
New Work Samples

Foundation Statement strands

The following strands are covered in this activity:

Investigating Scientifically

Description of activity

Students investigate a variety of materials which can be used to filter solid material from a sample of dirty water they have prepared.


  1. Students prepare a sample of dirty water, selecting from materials provided, eg soil, leaves, twigs, plastic, paper.
  2. They identify a variety of materials that can be used in their strainer to filter the dirty water.
  3. Students discuss and answer the focus questions provided.
  4. They plan the investigation and a method by which they can compare the cleanliness of the filtered water.
  5. Students construct filters from the materials provided and conduct the investigation.
  6. They record their results in the table and rank each filter’s capacity to remove the dirt from the water.
  7. Students suggest reasons for their ranking of the filter materials.

Adapted from an activity developed by Curriculum Corporation

Suggested materials

Strainer, clear plastic containers, permanent markers, dirty water, filter materials which could include: washed coarse and fine gravel and sand, aquarium filter wool, foam, sponge and fine mesh.

Prior learning

This task is a small part of a Science and Technology unit of work on Water in the Environment. Students have investigated why people need clean water and some of the ways that water quality can be improved. They have observed examples of filters and discussed how they work.


Investigating (INVS 3.7)
Conducts their own investigations and makes judgements based on the results of observing, questioning, planning, predicting, testing, collecting, recording and analysing data, and drawing conclusions.
Using Technology (UTS 3.9)
Evaluates, selects and uses a range of equipment, computer-based technology, materials and other resources to meet the requirements and constraints of investigating and designing tasks.

Criteria for assessing learning

Students will be assessed on their ability to:

  • write a procedure to test the ability of different materials to filter dirty water
  • conduct the investigation
  • record observations
  • rank various materials used in a filter
  • explain why the materials used improve the filter’s capacity to remove dirt.

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