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Let's Learn: Water Pollution

Many of us are spending a lot more time at home these days. Our Let's Learn series offers family-friendly educational activities and resources to help exercise your brain while keeping the kids entertained. Each post has a different theme related to Lake Winnipeg and offers different types of resources including colouring sheets, activity pages, videos, interactive online activites and experiments. Let's Learn about water pollution!

In our first Let's Learn series, we've got a variety of activities for the elementary school level.

Activity pages

A picture of the Lake Winnipeg Watershed Word Search 

Our printable activity pages feature two fun-filled puzzles. Can you unscramble the words to find the joke's punchline?

Let your imagination run free with these printable colouring pages and use your artistic skills to fill in the pictures!

Water pollution experiment

This experiment uses a few items from around the house to show how pollution travels from one body of water to the next. (Adapted from a Home Science Tools experiment)

What you'll need:

  • one cardboard egg carton (make sure it's not plastic or styrofoam)
  • water
  • ground pepper or ground flax
  • food colouring
  • kitchen towel or paper towels (it will get soaked with food colouring)
  • tray to place under the egg carton

What to do:

  1. Place towels on top of the tray, then place the egg carton on top of the towels
  2. Start pouring water into one of the egg carton cups. Watch as the water flows from one cup to the next and stop once the cups are full
  3. Pour one teaspoon of ground pepper or flax into one end of the egg carton. Watch as it flows from cup to cup. This is like solid pollution flowing from one body of water to the next
  4. In the opposite end of the egg carton, add about 10 drops of food colouring. Give it a gentle stir and watch the food colouring spread to the other cups. This shows liquid pollution flowing from one water body to the next
  5. Leave it for one or two hours. You'll notice that water and food colouring have seeped through to the towels

What we learned:

Water flows from one water body to the next (from streams, to rivers, to lakes, etc.).  By adding the pepper and food colouring, you showed that pollution, like litter and chemicals, easily flowed to other cups — even the cups that were farthest away! 

After leaving the carton for a while, you saw the water seeping into the towel below. This shows that the water, and everything in it, can travel underground and pollute the ground below. This area is known as groundwater and it can harm plants that drink the groundwater.

Plants and water pollution

Plants need water. What happens when plants drink water full of pollutants? (Adapted from a Kids Ecology Corps experiment)

What you'll need:

  • mason jars or clear drinking glasses
  • leafy celery stalks (one per jar/glass)
  • water
  • food colouring 
  • a knife (and a parent/guardian to use it!)

What to do:

  1. Fill the jars or glasses halfway with water
  2. Drop different colours of foodcolouring in each glass
  3. Have a parent/guardian cut off the bottom of the celery stalk (opposite from the leafy part)
  4. Place one stalk in each jar/glass, cut side down
  5. Leave overnight or for one week (close to sunlight is best)

What we learned:

Plants absorb things we put in the water. The food colouring acts kind of like water pollution. 

When it comes to the health of our water, we’re all part of the problem and we’re all part of the solution. Stay tuned for more educational resources and activities from LWF!

Check out these other posts in our Let's Learn series:

Let's Learn: Lake Winnipeg Watershed

Let's Learn: Road Salt

Let's Learn: Clouds

Let's Learn: Hiking

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