Skip to main content

Service Update

Due to the Grey-Lockdown category restrictions, access to KidsStops and Discovery Zones are unavailable. Learn more.

Mini Wonder Workshop: Clean Water Challenge

Banner

We use water everyday, but did you know that there are places in Canada where people do not have clean water to drink? Think about how you use water. What would you do if you turned on the tap and brown water poured into your cup? What do you think would happen if you drank dirty water, used it to bathe or clean your clothes?

This Mini Wonder Workshop is inspired by the book Nibi’s Water Song, written by Sunshine Tenasco and illustrated by Chief Lady Bird. The story is about a young Indigenous girl named Nibi. She is very thirsty, but her community doesn't have access to clean water to drink. When she sings about her thirst, the people living in nearby towns start listening to her song. Watch Sunshine Tenasco read her book and learn more about clean water activism in this Summer Wonder Author Talk, available until August 31.

Sunshine Tenasco holding her book Nibi's Water Song

Design thinking is a way to solve problems using your creativity. So put on your thinking cap and let’s get started! You can get your family or friends involved in this Clean Water Challenge. Design a way to provide clean water to a community that needs it. Do you have an idea for a machine or device that cleans polluted or dirty water? Or maybe you can think of a way to transport clean water from one place to another. Whether you're thinking of a machine, contraption or system, you can build it using your design thinking skills. You are an inventor!

Not sure where to start? First think about where people need water and how much they need. Did you know that in 2019, the average family of three in Toronto used 630 litres of water per day? That's a lot of water! We are lucky because Toronto is a major city, but what about families in communities that are farther away? Once you have an idea, plan and draw your design, then look for materials you can use to bring your idea to life.

Model of water filtration system using small pails and cardboard tube

It's time to get building! Do you have cotton balls, wooden sticks or gauze? What about plastic wrap, aluminum foil or cardboard tubes? Are there other objects in your home or outside that you can use to build your idea? This is called the prototyping phase of design thinking, where you build a model of your design and test out your idea. Here are some questions to think about:

  • What do you think is in the water that makes it unsafe? How will your invention remove unsafe materials from the water?
  • Is there a way to use your idea to clean a lot of water at once?
  • How can we prevent water from getting polluted in the first place?
  • If you are designing a way to transport clean water into a community, how will you keep the water safe en route? What if something blocks the water along the way? How will you keep the water moving?

When you are done building your design it’s time to test it out. Ask a grown-up about how to do this safely. Can you use bits of paper or pebbles or to represent the unsafe items you need to remove from the water? Is there a way to show how your idea would deliver clean water from one place to another? If something doesn't work, don’t worry. Sometimes, we have to makes some changes and keep trying to get things right, so keep at it!

Need some inspiration for your design? Here are some books to get you started:

 

Every Last Drop: Bringing Clean Water Home by Michelle Mulder
Every Last Drop: Bringing Clean Water Home by Michelle Mulder

 

The Water Princess by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds
The Water Princess by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds

 

Go Green by Caring for Water by Lisa Bullard and Xiao Xin
Go Green by Caring for Water by Lisa Bullard and Xiao Xin 

 

Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

 

Amazing Recycled Projects You Can Create by Marne Ventura
Amazing Recycled Projects You Can Create by Marne Ventura

 

The Wonderful Water Cycle by Kimberly Hutmacher
The Wonderful Water Cycle by Kimberly Hutmacher

 

We’d love to see what you create! Ask a grown-up to share a picture of your creation with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can use the hashtag #TPLSummerWonder.

Did you enjoy this Mini Wonder Workshop? Take our other challenges! Discover amazing animal adaptations and brainstorm creative solutions to pollution. Our YouTube channel has lots of fun, free programs that you can do from home!