Orchard Middle School, Classroom Pop-In: The Science of Creating Clean Water

Students in Ragen Mitchell's sixth-grade science class were full of energy this afternoon. You could hear their excitement from the hallway as joyful oohs and aahs poured out of their classroom. This is always a good sign at The Orchard School, and it was the perfect moment for an #OrchardClassroomPopIn!
Two seconds after walking in the door a student with an out-of-breath-smile asks, “Is this water cleaner than hers!? Come on…I NEED to know!” Immediately after that, another student announces with confidence to the entire classroom, “First try! HA!”
It turns out students were knee-deep in a water study after Mr. Mitchell showed the award-winning documentary, “Who Owns Water.” The film is about three southern states in a battle over the fresh water of the Chattahoochee River, and it was a kick-off to Mr. Mitchell’s study of water and water scarcity.
This afternoon, students were designing a water purification system to make muddy water as clean as possible by using basic materials from around the classroom. Everyone was racing to score a number four on Mr. Mitchell’s rubric, meaning the water was completely clean. And nobody wanted to score a one, meaning three-fourths the dirt remained.
Diving into trial and error can be very frustrating, especially for middle school-aged children, but activities like this can help keep students engaged and coming back for more. “It’s okay for you to try something more than 10 times,” Mr. Mitchell said. “That’s science!”

Quick video and pictures below:


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