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AZ Extension Water Quality  ] Youth Activities ] Glossary ]
Activity I-1: Water Tasting
This youth activity is one in a series of four activities that can be used to introduce water quality concepts.  It is a good introductory activity and can be adapted for all grades.

To provide an attention-getting introductory activity prior to discussing water quality education.
(This information was taken from GROUNDWATER: A VITAL RESOURCE Student Activities by the Cedar Creek Learning Center in cooperation with the Tennessee Valley Authority. 1986.)
People prefer all types of drinking water.  Most people like the taste of hard water because of the minerals in it.  Softened water may taste salty depending on how hard the water was before treatment.  Distilled water tastes "bland" or "flat" to most people, but some people prefer that taste.

Often people will be prejudiced about how water tastes based on its color or smell.

* small cups, less than 4 oz (I use nut cups)

* 4-5 1 gallon jugs

* tap water

* distilled water

* food coloring

* salt

* evaluation form (optional)

  1. Mark the small drinking cups with an identifiable color or number and mark one jug with the same color or number.

  2. Make up enough of 3-5 different types of water so each student can taste each type.  Suggestions:  tap water from the school, distilled water, softened water, colored tap water, salty water (similar to ocean water or water from the Salton Sea), water containing iron or sulfides, etc.

  3. Pour water into cups and group like water.  Have students take one of each type of water, taste it, and rate it.

  4. Discuss the different types and explain why some water tastes differently from other water.

  1. Discover how little (or how much) salt (sugar) needs to be added before students can taste it in the water.

  2. Have the students make bar charts of the number of people who liked the various types of water and determine the percentage of the class who liked the water.

  3. Make an observation table (see below) on the blackboard (and/or individually) and have the students use their senses to fill out the table based on their observations.  Stress to the students to use measurable observations (e.g., tastes salty not yucky).  Introduce and use concepts such as transparent, translucent, sediment, etc.
This activity was adapted by Dr. Kitt Farrell-Poe from the Invitational Professional Development Workshop: Water Activities Teaching Environmental Responsibility. February 28-March 4, 1990. Camp Ocala, 4-H Center, Altoona, FL.

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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, James A. Christenson, Director, Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture, The University of Arizona. The University of Arizona College of Agriculture is an Equal Opportunity employer, authorized to provide research, educational information, and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to sex, race, religion, color, national origin, age, Viet Nam Era Veteran's status, or disability.

For problems or questions regarding this web contact Dr. Kitt Farrell-Poe.
This document was last modified: 31-Aug-2005 .




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