Waste, Water, and Wastewater

In this lesson, students will apply what they know about how to separate a mixture by designing a wastewater treatment facility that effectively removes contaminants.

Context for Use

Project EXTREMES lessons were intended to be stand alone lessons.

No dumping, Drains to Creek

No dumping, drains to creek. Photo credit: Mary Elise Ewing

Goals Header
What Students Will Do

Students design a solution to separate the components of wastewater.


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  • Activity 1 – Engagement (15 minutes) How much water do we use?

Students brainstorm ways in which water is used and compare current usage to past usage.

  • Activity 2 – Exploration (45 minutes) What’s in our water must come out

Students hear about the Cuyahoga River Fire and wonder about how disasters like that can be prevented. They use this tragedy to begin thinking about how to design a wastewater treatment facility.

  • Activity 3 – Explanation & Evaluation (60 minutes) Modeling the Wastewater Treatment Process 

Students create models of wastewater treatment facilities, peer-review each other's work, and compare their designs to that which is used in their hometown.

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