Clams - filter feeding model

Model of how filter feeding works. Filter feeding is a method of feeding used by clams, where water is filtered by tiny hairs to catch small food particles. This is written as a demonstration with a student helper, but multiple versions can be set up so that all students can try it.
Science content
Biology: Features, Adaptations of Living Things (K, 1, 3, 7)
  • tray of water
  • small seeds or grain to represent food particles
  • plastic cup to represent the body of the clam
  • wire or plastic mesh to represent the hairs inside the clam that trap food

Teacher or student helper adds seeds/grain to a large tray of water, to represent food particles floating in the seawater.
The teacher shows the class the mesh stuffed into the cup, representing the hairs inside the clams body.
The teacher/student helper scoops the cup through the water and food particles, representing the clam taking in water with a siphon.
The teacher/student helper pours the water out of the cup again, representing the water leaving the clam’s body by the siphon.
The teacher shows the students the seeds/grain stuck in the mesh, representing the food particles stuck in the hairs in the clams body.

More information on filter feeding for the teacher at

Grades taught
Gr 1
Gr 2