Water Education Resources 

In the Classroom

MMSD can help enhance student learning through in-classroom presentations, activities, and curriculum resources. Topics include water resources, watersheds, water stewardship, sustainability, water quality, water reclamation, and water-focused careers.

Presentations by Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD):

MMSD provides experts who will speak to your class on a wide variety of water-focused topics. Fill out this form to request a speaker.

Models:

MMSD can provide you with hands-on demonstration models to create an interactive water experience in your classroom. To borrow any of the following models with the curriculum guide please fill out the request form. Please note that the pickup and return of the model is the responsibility of the teacher or school staff.

  • Water Treatment Model: This model and associated activities can help students learn where drinking water comes from and how it is delivered to us. Students also learn what happens to water after we use it, what biosolids are, and how biosolids are reused. Grades 3-5
  • Watershed Model: This model and associated activities can help students learn that we all live in a watershed, that various sources contribute to the pollution in our rivers and streams and Lake Michigan, and that we each can help reduce the amount of nonpoint pollution from entering our water resources. Grades 3-5
  • Stormwater Floodplain Simulator: Through this highly interactive module and curriculum, students learn about the value of wetlands and retention ponds in flood management, how to measure runoff, construct a hydrograph, and work as a team to find solutions to a variety of simulated floodplain problems. The model can be loaned to your school for up to 6 weeks. Please note that a 2-3-hour training is required prior to the loan of this model.

Community Partner In Classroom Activities and Lessons:

MMSD partners with community organizations who can provide in classroom experienceson water related topics. Reflo, a nonprofit leading local efforts for greenschool initiatives, has compiled a listing of opportunities for Elementary or Middle/High School students.

Curriculum and Activity Resources:

  • Reflo: Reflo, a nonprofit leading local efforts for green school initiatives, has compiled a listing of activities that lead to a greater understanding and connection to our local water resources. Listings available by grade level or track.
  • State of the Watershed Booklets: The State of the Watershed reports offer you a quick “snapshot” of conditions within the watershed today. Guides include Milwaukee River Watershed, Menomonee River Watershed, Kinnickinnic River Watershed, Root River Watershed, Oak Creek Watershed, and Lake Michigan Drainage.
  • Water Reclamation Teaching Guide:This teaching guide helps teachers present lessons and activities about the process of water reclamation and the reuse of waste materials collected through that process.
  • Water Story MKE: Developed by ReFlo, a local nonprofit organization, Water Story MKE is a web-based, water-centric adventure. Youth use an online app to explore six sites across the city where students hear stories from Milwaukee's water citizens and discover water history and green infrastructure practices that are hidden in plain sight.
  • Into the Outdoors: This award-winning public television program provides middle and high school lessons with videos on urban stormwater management and urban runoff.
  • NEXT.cc: NEXT.cc is a rich, online resource that provides a wide variety of place-based design activities that address the five goals of environmental education: Awareness, Knowledge, Attitudes and Environmental Ethic, Citizen Action Skills, and Citizen Action Experiences.
  • Wiki Model My Watershed: This watershed-modeling web app enables students to analyze real land use and soil data in their neighborhoods and watersheds, model stormwater runoff and water-quality impacts, and compare how different conservation or development scenarios could modify runoff and water quality.
  • Water Box: The free Water Box, developed by Veolia Water, is an educational kit that contains a curriculum with 25 hands-on experiments and associated materials and supplies. Designed for 5th grade students, the experiments help students learn about the water cycle, water treatment, and the environment at large.
  • Earth Echo Kits: The EarthEcho Water Challenge (formerly World Water Monitoring Challenge) is a program of Earth Echo International that runs annually from March 22 (the United Nations World Water Day) through December and builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging individuals to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies. Kits and suggested activities are available through the website.

Field Experiences

Extend student learning beyond the classroom through guided tours and educational programming at local nature centers. Questions on any of these opportunities please fill out this form and we will be in touch. 

Tours:

Bring students to tour MMSD’s water reclamation facilities, water quality lab, or the research vessel, the Pelagos. Click here to find more detailed tour information.

Environmental Education Initiative:

To foster the next generation of water stewards, MMSD partners with area nature centers to provide youth with experiences to learn about water resources in a natural environment. A limited number of bus and program scholarships are available for selected programs. Scholarships are on a first-come, first-registered basis. Please contact the organizations for program specifics and scholarship information.

Partners with Scholarships Available:

Additional Partners:

Teacher Professional Development

MMSD offers opportunities for teachers to learn about new resources and curricula through tours, training, and workshops that can enrich the teaching of science and environmental topics.

MMSD Teacher Training Day - Water Journey for Educators:

MMSD hosts an annual professional development day for teachers that provides an array of field experiences, workshops on a variety of water topics, training for specific water curriculum as well as learn about the green school movement in the Milwaukee area. Join us for our 2019 event.

Water Journey for Educators

August 24, 2019: 8:00 am – 3:30 pm (breakfast and lunch provided

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (260 W. Seeboth Street)

Register Here!

Choose one of the morning tours followed by a afternoon water-focused workshop. Workshops are first-come, first served.

Morning Activity Options:

  • Tour of Jones Island: The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) cleans billions of gallons of wastewater every year at two reclamation facilities that serve 1.1 million people in 28 communities. Join us as we tour Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility to see the process of cleaning our water first hand.
  • Lake Michigan Research: Learn about current issues in the Great Lakes being researched at the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences including a tour of the building and hands-on activities.

Afternoon Activity Options:

  • Project Wet (Elementary & Lower Middle School) – Join a drop of water on an incredible journey through Project WET. Explore a series of activities that can be done in your classroom, school yard, or local park that will spark an interest and curiosity about water and how it impacts our daily lives. A NSTA-recommended, innovative collection of water education lessons and activities. This curriculum guide is full of activities about watersheds, water quality, floods and water conservation, maps, posters, and more. (Curriculum guide included).
  • Digital Observation Technology Skills (middle school focus) - The Digital Observation Technology Skills (DOTS) program is an outdoor Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) approach that uses modern mobile technology tools to connect today’s students to the outdoors in new and innovative ways. This inquiry-based approach navigates the basics of the scientific method and focuses on the importance of good scientific communication and sharing discoveries with others. Participants leave with a firm understanding of how to integrate inquiry activities into their classwork and use technology to enhance STEM experiences in the field.
  • Great Lakes In My World (High School) Give your students a hands-on connection to nature and science. Great Lakes in My World offers indoor and outdoor activities you can integrate into your curriculum. The high school curriculum focuses on Great Lakes coastal habitats. (Curriculum kit included.)

Water Box:

Our partner Veolia Water offers a training for use of the Water Box, a kit that helps 5th grade students learn about the water cycle, water treatment, and the environment at large. It includes supplies to carryout 25 hands-on experiments and other activities.

Service and Science Projects

Are your students ready to take action to help protect our rivers and Lake Michigan? MMSD can help you and your students identify opportunities to become active stewards of our valuable water resources.

Adopt-a-River:

Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s program, sponsored by MMSD, allows individuals or groups to adopt a section of the river with the commitment of cleaning that section two times per year for the next two years.

Adopt-a-Storm Drain:

Through the Respect Our Waters campaign of the Southeastern Wisconsin Watershed Trust anyone can adopt their local storm drain. By adopting a drain, you agree to prevent pollution from reaching storm drains by keeping the area around drains free from debris and by following a few simple tips.

Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-A-Beach:

This Adopt-a-Beach learning program lets you teach outdoors at your local Great Lakes shoreline. Students learn about the environment while they investigate beach health, remove litter, and enter their findings into an online database.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s Spring Cleanup:

Volunteer at Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s Annual Spring Cleanup every April around Earth Day! Join nearly 4,000 volunteers at over 65 locations across the Milwaukee River Basin to pick up trash and work create swimmable, fishable rivers.

Science Strikes Back:

A community science fair hosted by Escuela Verde. Science Strikes Back aims to encourage community members in Milwaukee to critically analyze environmental issues and solve problems in their communities. Through the development of collaborative relationships between students, educators, and content specialists from locally-based organizations, Science Strikes Back will produce a strong network in Milwaukee for continued environmental education and natural resource stewardship.

Green and Healthy Schools

Learn how schools and the school community of students, teachers, and parents can be a beacon of water stewardship in their neighborhoods and Milwaukee community. Find out about grant programs and initiatives that can help you become a green school and bring green space back to the schoolyard.

Green and Healthy Schools:

Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin empowers, supports and recognizes schools for nurturing healthy kids and sustainable communities. Participating schools learn how to reduce environmental impacts and costs, improve health and wellness, and increase environmental and sustainability literacy.

Green School Consortium of Milwaukee:

Green School Consortium of Milwaukee is a local network of green school practitioners, agencies, and funders with the intention of sharing resources and supporting meaningful schoolyard redevelopment projects that improve the quality of our watersheds while providing students with access to healthy green space and exciting educational opportunities.

Green Infrastructure for Schools Guidebook:

This Guidebook from MMSD is an overview of ideas and guidelines for schools to consider when upgrading, replacing, and creating new schoolyards. The goal of the guidebook is to enhance schoolyards, student experiences, and environmental health through the integration of green infrastructure.

Greening School Yards:

Green Schoolyards America is a national organization that expands and strengthens the green schoolyard movement and empowers Americans to become stewards of their school and neighborhood environments. Green Schoolyards America inspires and enables communities to enrich their school grounds and use them to improve children’s well-being, learning and play while contributing to the ecological health and resilience of their cities.

Fresh Coast Guardians Resource Center:

Whether you are seeking professional guidance about green infrastructure (GI), or want to start sizing your own GI project, or looking for grant opportunities to support a GI project, the Fresh Coast Guardians Resource Center can lead you in the right direction. The Fresh Coast Resource Center is in the Global Water Center and is open Monday -Thursday 9am-4pm and Friday by appointment.