Lesson Plan

Scrubbing Your Water Clean!

NPS VIP/Tom Wilson

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Grade Level:
Second Grade-Eighth Grade
Aquatic Studies, Biodiversity, Chemistry, Conservation, Environment
1 hour
Group Size:
Up to 12
National/State Standards:
Common Core Georgia Performance Standards: ELACC4W4, ELACC4W10, SCI.4.1.D.4, S4CS8 a, S4E3, & S5E1
filter, Spring, aquifer, creek, matter, water vapor, Evaporation, condensation, precipitation, collection, accumulation, clouds, atmosphere, run off, pollution, water pollution, meteorologist, weather, climate, non-point source pollution, point source pollution


This lesson will teach children about the importance of clean water and the ways in which nature and humans can help clean water of the pollution and other impurities that are often present. Children will be able to engineer a water filtration device from given supplies that will be able to filter impurities from “polluted” water.


Students will be able to:

  • Explain how the components of soil can cleanse the water (both groundwater as well as rainwater.)
  • Explain how the forest canopy provides cleansing for the rain as it filters down to the soil.
  • Create a filter that can clean water of a majority of impurities given basic supplies.
  • Write about their filter and the steps needed for creation of filter.


Teacher will need to understand the tree canopy and how this filters rain and takes out many of the impurities that are in the rain due to pollution in the air. The teacher will also need to have a rudimentary understanding of the ways that a natural aquifer works as well as how we make versions of these to function as cleansers for our water systems.


  • A Raindrop’s Journey by Suzanne Slade
  • Water by Frank Asch



Students will create a filter that will be able to effectively clean all debris and much of the chemicals from their water.

Park Connections

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area plays an important part in the natural cleansing of the Atlanta Metro Areas water. In particular, the C.R.E.E.C. has several creeks, natural springs, and the actual river on site. This lends to a natural wetlands area that, with the current protections afforded, will be able to provide natural filtering of water before it flows into the river. Students are able to see first-hand the ways in which our rain water and groundwater are filtered to remove impurities without chemicals.


If lesson is taught in outdoor area with access to wetlands: Students can go outside and determine where rain water would naturally settle based on the settling of the soils and the naturally eroded water pathways they are able to see. They are then able to determine the resources there that would help to cleanse the water.

If taught at C.R.E.E.C. students can go on a hike and go off the main trails to the wetland areas to observe the natural sifting and cleansing properties of the creeks. They will also be able to see the spring which is the beginning of one of the creeks. They are able to see how the water simply filters through the ground and wells up into a flowing water source. This allows for more conversation about the filtering processes in nature as well as the natural erosion patterns caused by the destructive properties of water.

Additional Resources

A site for students to visit which gives more information( in child-friendly formats) about filtering water and keeping our water clean so that it will be healthy for us.


spring, filter, aquifer, creek, wetland, matter, water vapor, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, collection, accumulation, clouds, atmosphere, run-off, pollution, meteorologist, weather, climate, non-point source and point source pollution

Last updated: April 14, 2015