Survival Still

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Students design and build a solar still to capture drinking water from the capillary water in the soil, and then modify their designs to be more efficient.


Social Studies, Science

Plan Time

One class period plus 20 minutes


Handout included; sheet of thick, transparent flexible plastic at least 1-m square (one per group), coffee can (one per group), shovel (one per group), rocks, graduated cylinder.


National Standards: 9-12

  • SEC-B: 5.c. Heat consists of random motion and the vibrations of atoms, molecules, and ions. The higher the temperature, the greater the atomic or molecular motion.
  • SEC-B: 6.a. Waves, including sound and seismic waves, waves on water, and light waves, have energy and can transfer energy when they interact with matter.
  • SEC-E: 1.a. Identify a problem or design an opportunity.
  • SEC-E: 1.b. Propose designs and choose between alternative solutions.
  • SEC-E: 1.c. Implement a proposed solution.
  • SEC-E: 1.d. Evaluate the solution and its consequences.
  • SEC-E: 1.e. Communicate the problem, process, and solution.

Florida Solar Energy Center

Lesson Plans/Activity