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Design Thinking, Design Thinking, Oceanography


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Computer Science


60 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Desalination Exploration

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
May 21, 2024
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In this lesson, students explore different methods of desalination. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Students read two facts about the Earth’s water and share reactions. 

Step 2 - Investigate: Students watch a video on desalination and take notes.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students analyze two desalination processes, evaluate an at-home desalination model, and have the opportunity to build the desalination model.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson can be multidisciplinary and can be completed in engineering, computer science, digital art, English or science classes.

  • Students and teachers are given voice and multiple areas of choice in this lesson.

  • Students become agents of change in their own communities, identifying problems and solutions.

  • Students and teachers can make this conceptual, practical, or hands-on.

  • This lesson can be spread out over several days and be considered a mini-unit.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with the basics of climate change.

  • Students should be familiar with the basic scientific concepts of osmosis.

  • Students should be familiar with basic engineering concepts like scaling and design.


  • Students can work independently or in a group with adjusted requirements.

  • Teachers can use subject and grade level vocabulary already being worked on or learned in class. Teachers can add vocabulary words in the glossary slide of the Teacher Slideshow.

  • To further develop practical science or engineering skills, students can work together to create and implement a workable desalination solution at the school, home, or community level. Students can lead a workshop for family, an environmental club, or the community.

  • Some students may wish to communicate their advocacy via social media. Make sure to follow all school rules and monitor students’ progress if you allow this in the classroom.

Scientist Notes

This lesson teaches students about potable water scarcity and then explores desalination as a possible solution in water-stressed areas. Desalination technologies are introduced, and energy and environmental costs of desalination are discussed. A video resource explores a novel desalination technology, the Solar Dome, being built in Saudi Arabia. Students are tasked with designing and building their own solar still, and opportunity is given for design optimization. This lesson is recommended for teaching.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Primary Standards

  • Computer Science & Design Thinking
    • Design Thinking
      • 8.2.12.ED.1: Use research to design and create a product or system that addresses a problem and make modifications based on input from potential consumers.
      • 8.2.12.ED.3: Evaluate several models of the same type of product and make recommendations for a new design based on a cost benefit analysis.
      • 8.2.12.ED.4: Design a product or system that addresses a global problem and document decisions made based on research, constraints, trade-offs, and aesthetic and ethical considerations and share this information with an appropriate audience.
      • 8.2.12.ED.5: Evaluate the effectiveness of a product or system based on factors that are related to its requirements, specifications, and constraints (e.g., safety, reliability, economic considerations, quality control, environmental concerns, manufacturability, maintenance and repair, ergonomics).
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