The Great Stink

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This term we are linking our learning to The Victorians. We completed a science experiment in class to investigate how the Victorians tackled the problem of The Great Stink – the River Thames in London becoming so polluted the stench was almost unbearable!

We took clear river water and added (some fake and some real) soot, mud, food, rubbish, sticks, leaves and washing waste and then examined the contents.

We then completed an investigation to discover which material would be best to filter all the materials from the river. We tested cloth, paper, card, tissue and filter paper. Our first thoughts were that the cloth would sort the materials the best – but on testing it fared very badly. We were surprised at how well tissue sorted the materials – but our main discovery was that filter paper filtered the water the best – and we also discovered why it is called filter paper!