Home New Millennium Campaign Press Releases Discovery Pavilion Museum Store Rioscape Membership Fact Sheet Volunteer Links
Contact Us Past Exhibits The River Project Environmental Education School Times Museum Expansion Board of Trustees Star Reader Outreach
  Friday September 19. 2003   Water Journey

Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat:
9am to 5pm
12am to 8pm
1pm to 5pm


The River Runs Through Us, Exhibit 2

Water Journey

A unique hands-on science exhibit that teaches about the water cycle, the municipal water system and water conservation

Exhibit Summary:

In the water cycle, water moves through both natural and human systems. This exhibit helps the explorer understand a system: the municipal water system, a man-made process that makes it possible to reuse water that comes from rivers and streams. Every part of the system is important as water moves from the river and natural water cycles into canals, and through the treatment process into homes and businesses. After being used, the water goes into the waste water treatment process and back into the natural water cycle.

Through unique hands-on exploration and imaginative play, children act the roles of water users, water treatment elements, and water managers and engineers. Using plastic balls as water, students keep the water drops moving in a cycle from the river into pipes, canals, a water tower and homes and, as water users do, they add pollutants (other colored balls), and clean them up and recycle the water to benefit the environment. They also help Mother Nature by simulating the sun’s heat, energy and evaporation as they crank the balls up a conveyor to the clouds and later release them as rainfall. Using their hands and minds to explore and investigate, children and adults gain an understanding of the importance of water in their lives. They appreciate the physical nature of water and their responsibilities as water users to care and conserve this natural resource.

Exhibit Elements:

· Role-play water users, water treatment elements, and water managers
· Cycle plastic balls ( “water drops”) from river to canals, a water tower, homes, water processing and back into the water cycle
· As water users, children add “pollutants” and recycle and clean up the water
· Video - A Gathering of Waters traces a container of water carried by a variety of water users from the headwaters to the mouth of the Rio Grande.

Cities clean water before we use it.
River water flows into the City’s Water System where it is cleaned and treated, used and cleaned again.

Water Constantly Moves in a Cycle
Using plastic balls as water, students keep the water drops moving in a cycle from the river into pipes, canals, a water tower and homes.
Water Flows Downhill
Water (blue balls) goes downhill as it flows in streams and rivers. The green balls represent biological wastes that are in the river water. The red balls represent hazardous wastes chemicals such as laundry detergent, fertilizers and pesticides).
A Dam is placed on the River
This student has erected a ‘dam’ and is diverting the upstream water into the city’s reservoir.
Water is Diverted for City Use
Playing the part of the diversion ‘pump,’ this student pushes the raw water into the ‘canal’ and into the city reservoir.
Raw Water is Cleaned at the Water Treatment Plant
The water is pumped from the reservoir into the water treatment plant where the water is cleaned for our use. This boy is role-playing the laboratory technician at the water plant and is sampling the water. In the background, the two girls are playing the role of the pump putting pressure on the clean water and are sending it up to the water tower for storage and
The water tower is a storage place for the city's clean water.
Water is Distributed for Many Uses
Clean water flows down through the pipe from the water tower and is distributed to homes and industry.
As we use water, we pollute
At home we add pollutants (smaller colored balls) in the kitchen as we wash hands and dishes or pour things into the sink. In the bathroom we pollute water as we shower or use the toilet.
Wastewater contains pollutants.
When the water leaves our houses and goes into the sewer, it contains pollutant such as biological wastes (green), trash (yellow) and sometimes hazardous wastes (red).
The pollutants are cleaned up by microorganisms (living things that can only be seen with a microscope), and by filtering, settling, and the addition of chemicals to kill the bacteria.
A healthy River flows into a larger body of water.
In this photo the pathway with its green borders represents the river. In a healthy river, the blue ‘water drop’ on the river pathway (in the background) flows into the larger body of water such as the ocean. The Rio Grande normally flows into the Gulf of Mexico, but at the present time the river water does not make it to the Gulf. With very little water left in
the Rio Grande at the mouth of the river, a large sand bar (a natural dam) has formed keeping the river from flowing into the Gulf.
International Museum of Art & Science
(956) 682-1564
[email protected]