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Global Solutions

Did you know that only 3% of the Earth’s water is fresh water? That means that a whopping 97% of the water on Earth is too salty to drink or use to grow crops! Try your hand at desalination by creating your very own desalinator!

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Plan

  • What materials will you need for this activity?
  • How much time do you need to complete this activity?
  • How will you create your product?
  • What are some different ideas you have to create fresh water?

Do

  • Discuss what desalination is and why it is important in the world.
  • Gather all the materials required to make your own desalinator.
  • Follow the steps listed to create your own desalinated water:
    • Mix salt into a bowl of water. Warm water can help dissolve the salt quicker. Keep adding the salt until it will no longer dissolve leaving a small amount at the bottom of the bowl.
    • At this point, you can have a quick taste (just a drop!) of the salt water to compare it to what fresh water tastes like.
    • Pour the salt water into a large pot and place your boil safe mug in the middle of the pot. Be careful not to get any salt water in your mug. Place your pot on the stove.
    • Cover the pot with tinfoil and seal the edges, leaving just enough extra that you can make the middle a slightly lower point. In this lower point, place a few ice cubes and then turn the stove on to bring the water to a boil.
    • Watch carefully, and once the water starts to boil, set it on low-medium heat and let it simmer.
    • Let simmer for about 10 minutes or until the ice cubes melt. Don’t let your pot boil dry!
    • Turn off the heat and let the whole thing cool without touching it for 20 to 30 minutes.
    • Once cool, carefully remove the tinfoil. You may need to use some paper towel to soak up the melted ice cubes from the top.
    • You will notice there is now water in the mug, and a lot less water, that may be cloudy, in the pot. Give the water in the mug a taste, does it taste like the water you started with?

Review

  • What were some problems you ran into when desalinating your water?
  • Why is desalination so important?
  • What are some other ways you can help to create clean water?
  • What do you know now that you didn’t know before?

Materials

  • Bowl
  • Large pot
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Spoon
  • Boil safe mug or container (like a camping mug)
  • Tinfoil
  • Ice cubes
  • Access to a stove

Keep it Simple

Take it Further