Fifth Grade Students Dive into STEM Water on Mars Project

Students in Mr. Rangel’s fifth grade Dual Language class were tasked to demonstrate the most effective way to filter water from Mars in a unique STEM group project. The assignment mirrored a real life scenario for students to think, create, and perform as professionals presenting to NASA. 

The project incorporated strategic research, analyzing water pumps, solving math problems, crafting a functional water filter, and conducting an in person presentation to a panel of guest judges. Special guest judges that attended the presentations included: Diesel Pump Specialist Jose Guzman, Entrepreneur Joel Gonzalez, and JPL Engineer Adrian Ortiz. 

“Being in the 21st-century, we must find ways for academic rigor and fun to coexist in classrooms,” Walnut Elementary fifth grade Dual Language teacher Jose Rangel said.

Other aspects of the presentations included using math for the number of supplies needed, and finding the volume of a water container. Students also analyzed the best water pump to use within proper weight, pumping strength, and cost in the scenario it would be sent to Mars on a spacecraft. Creativity was used for designing a functional water filter out of natural materials that was put to the test and displayed. To round out their presentations, the groups tested their water pump methods. 

Interactive STEM projects like these are just one of the many opportunities for students to spark a lasting passion for learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


BPUSD_Water On Mars1: Walnut Elementary student display his group’s crafted water filtered made from a recycled soda bottle, rocks, charcoal, and sand for Water on Mars STEM project.

BPUSD_Water On Mars2: Walnut Elementary students display filtered water results during the Water on Mars STEM project.

BPUSD_Water On Mars3: Walnut Elementary students present their math findings during the Water on Mars STEM project.