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Airdate: Sep 08, 2009
Scientist: Adina Paytan

KSC Claire Filtration

KSC Claire  Filtration
Kids' Science Challenge winner Claire Dworsky learns about the importance of filtering water before testing it.

music; ambience

AP: "This is your first set of samples that you have, so why don't you mark each one of these here with G1, 2, 3 and 5, and meanwhile I'll prepare the filtration stuff."

UC Santa Cruz oceanographer Adina Paytan is in the lab with 3rd grader Claire Dworsky, who's marking samples of water. And if you're wondering what the G stands for, stay tuned. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Claire Dworsky is a winner in the Kids' Science Challenge, our nationwide competition for 3rd to 6th graders. She's collected over a hundred samples of water runoff from soccer fields, some with artificial turf, and others with grass, labeled G. Adina and Claire will add a reagent, or test substance, which changes color depending on concentrations of nutrients in the water. But first, the water will have to be filtered.

AP: "When you collected the samples, what color were they?"
CD: "Brownish."
AP: "Brownish. So when we add the reagents to turn the color, if there's already a color there, that's not very good, because then we won't be able to see our green, or our blue or a red, because it will mix with the other colors that we already have in the sample. So what we do to prepare our sample is we have to filter it. And this filter takes out all of the mud and particles from our sample so we can get the real color to work. So what we're going to do now is prepare your samples, put them in these little tubes after we filter them, and put them in this tray. And this tray goes on the instrument, and the machine starts running and adding all of the reagents, and then we see the color develop."

Claire hopes that these tests will reveal the environmental impacts of the water runoff from fertilized grass fields vs. synthetic turf fields.

Pulse of the Planet's Kids' Science Challenge is made possible by the National Science Foundation.