Contaminated water supplies have become local problems in communities across the United States and world. Though dramatic situations in Flint, Michigan, and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina catch the headlines, neighborhoods and communities across our country are facing water quality issues in their groundwater, swimming pools, and community and backcountry lakes and streams. Microscale and nanoscale water filters hold the key to removing even the smallest of pathogens from the water. In this module, students will use a model to illustrate the relationships and interactions between clean water, micro- and nano-contaminants found in local water sources, and mechanical water treatment mechanisms. Then they will evaluate competing design solutions to produce drinkable water based on empirical evidence and/or logical arguments regarding constraints, including cost and safety, while considering social and environmental impacts.
Nano Concepts – Lists which nanotechnology areas are being explored
- Nature/structure of matter
- Sense of scale
- Societal impacts
Traditional Science Concepts – Lists which science areas are being explored
- Living things are made of one or more cells
- Natural resources guide the development of human society
- Sustainability of human society is dependent upon responsible management of natural resources
- Macroscopic models help us investigate and understand how a design works at smaller scales
Module Resources and Documents
Note that you need to be registered with Nano-Link and logged in to download files. To register or log in, click here.
List of Required Materials
The full list of items needed for this module is below. Note that materials for DIY modules are not available through Nano-Link or the Nano-Infusion program.
- 1 set of waterborne pathogens cards
- Data table on water pathogens
- Materials to construct a filter such as cheesecloth, activated carbon, grass, dirt, pillow batting, coffee filter, etc.
- Plastic funnel
- Ring stand
- Samples of items that are typically washed down the sink such as toothpaste, coffee grounds, dirt from vegetables, shampoo, soda, etc.
- 3 beakers
- Stir rods (wood or glass)
- Light microscope
- Wet-mount slides & cover slips
- Untreated water from local lake, pond, or stream
- Tap water
- Optional: 1 Coliform Bacteria Test Kit
- 1 Lifestraw
- 5 m of rubber tubing
- 1 – 35cc syringe