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STEM Activities

STEM Activity: World Water Day

Every year on March 22, World Water Day celebrates this essential resource and reminds us how important it is to have access to safe drinking water. All living creatures need clean, safe water!

Whether you try these two STEM activities on World Water Day or any day, you’re sure to have fun diving into designing an innovative water device and playing an exciting game of Blob Fish!


Materials Needed

  • Fish squirters or squirt/spray bottle
  • Paper
  • Pencil, pens or markers
  • Shaving cream
  • Small buckets or containers (two)
  • Small tables, desks or TV trays (two)
  • Towel or drop cloth
  • Water


Step-by-Step Instructions

Activity One: Prototype a Water-Cleaning Device

  1. Make a list or have a conversation about the ways you use water every day.
  2. Do an internet search or write down three challenges you know are connected to water — like removing garbage or pollution from rivers, lakes and oceans, or making sure everyone has access to clean drinking water.
  3. Decide which water challenge will be your focus.
  4. Explore inventors, like National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee Ashok Gadgil, and inventions that have helped with water-related challenges.
  5. Design and sketch your own invention to address your water challenge.
  6. Share your idea with your family and friends to keep the fun and inspiration going!


Activity Two: Blob Fish

  1. Ask a family member or friend(s) to play an ocean cleanup game called Blob Fish!
  2. Fill two small buckets or containers about halfway with water.
  3. Place a towel on the floor (or choose to play this game outdoors).
  4. Place two small tables or desks on top of the drop cloth or towel, about 2 feet apart from one another.
  5. Place a bucket of water and a squirter or spray bottle near each table or desk.
  6. Have one person (or one pair or group) stand near each bucket.
  7. Place a large blob of shaving cream on top of each desk or table to represent water pollution.
  8. Explain that the goal is to use the squirters to remove the shaving cream from the opposite desk or table, and that the buckets of water can be used to refill the squirters.
  9. Share that the person or team who removes all of the shaving cream blob first is the pollution cleanup champion!
  10. Congratulate each other on a great game of Blob Fish. Everyone wins when we clean up and protect water!


What Are We Discovering?

There are many ways that we can clean up and help protect clean water! Ashok Gadgil invented a water-disinfecting technology that is used to provide clean and inexpensive drinking water to millions of people throughout India and Africa.

From a young age, Gadgil was fascinated with science and loved tinkering. His parents encouraged his passion and allowed him to have his very own lab. “My parents were very supportive,” he said in an interview with NIHF. His parents’ trust gave him the confidence to explore. In his lab, he tested the reactions of different chemicals and sourced materials like zinc and carbon rods from dry cell batteries.

Gadgil also joined a local hobby club in Mumbai, India, where he grew up, which gave him access to a carpentry shop and mentors who encouraged his interests. “Those experiences surely contributed to developing the sense of what might work,” Gadgil said. “They surely contributed to developing the sense on the physical side of manipulating objects and understanding hydrodynamics.”

By supporting children’s STEM interests, we can make a lasting impact on caring for this big blue (and green) planet and its inhabitants!

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