In Search of Solutions: Water for survival


In Search of Solutions: Purify water from a muddy pond in order to survice! Linking to topics on filtration, distillation and temperature.



If you teach primary science, click the headings below to find out how to use this resource:

Skill development

Children will develop their working scientifically skills by:

  • Drawing conclusions and raising further questions that could be investigated, based on their data and observations.
  • Using appropriate scientific language and ideas to explain, evaluate and communicate their findings.
  • Asking their own questions about scientific phenomena.

Learning outcomes

Children will:

  • Observe that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution, and describe how to recover a substance from a solution.
  • Use knowledge of solids, liquids, and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering, sieving, and evaporating.
  • Identify the part played by evaporation and condensation in the water cycle and associate the rate of evaporation with temperature.
  • Observe that some materials change state when they are heated or cooled, and measure or research the temperature at which this happens in degrees Celsius.

Concepts supported

Children will learn:

  • That knowledge of the properties of different states of matter and how separation techniques can be used to solve real-life problems.

Suggested activity use

This activity provides a good problem solving context for children to explore using their knowledge of separating mixtures. Children could work in small groups to share their ideas and carry out the activity, whilst also evaluating their methods, discussing how to improve them.

Practical considerations

You will need to provide the equipment and resources listed in the activity, including pond water, which will need be prepared beforehand. Many of the resources listed are available only in a secondary school, but there are alternatives, such as using heat stands and tea light candles instead of Bunsen burners and tripods.

Previous work on separating techniques would be beneficial, so children can call upon prior knowledge.