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Solar Still

Build a solar water still to clean dirty water and make it safe to drink. A “still” is used to “distill” the water by separating out dirt and some bacteria. Water evaporates onto a piece of glass or plastic – leaving dirt and bacteria in the bottom. Then, clean water is collected for drinking or cooking.

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  • What do you know about the water cycle? 
  • Where do you want to build your solar still? 
  • How do you want to build your solar still?  
  • Will it be portable or dug into the ground? 
  • What will you use to build your solar still? 
  • What will you use to collect the clean water? 
  • How will you test the quality of your distilled water? 
  • How will you form your groups?


  • Thinking about everything you know about the water cycle, draw up a design for your still. 
  • Collect all the materials you will need. 
  • Build your solar still. 
  • How can you increase the temperature inside the still?


  • What do you know now that you did not know before? 
  • How could you increase the rate at which the water evaporates? 
  • How would a solar still help someone without access to running water? 
  • Is the still portable to take on a backpacking trip? If not, what might you do to make it so? 
  • How does this adventure help you work towards your ScoutCraft OAS? 
  • What elements of STEM did you use in this adventure? (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) 
  • What did you like about this adventure?  
  • What did you not like?  
  • How would you do this adventure differently? 
  • Remember to add your activity to the Take Action Map. 

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