Students on boat tour

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.

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.

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 studentslearn 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 thatwe 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.

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.

  • 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 WatershedMenomonee River WatershedKinnickinnic River WatershedRoot River WatershedOak Creek Watershed, and Lake Michigan Drainage.
  • Water Reclamation Teaching GuideThis 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.
  • 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 WatershedThis 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 curriculum, developed by Veolia, contains supply sheets and detailed instructions on how to conduct 25 hands-on experiments. 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 Earth Echo 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.
  • Haggerty Museum of Art’s Water Across the Curriculum: Water Across the Curriculum (WAC) program is designed to both offer educators a menu of enrichment options, and to train university students studying education to integrate the visual arts into their classroom curricula (K-12th Grades).
  • Freshwater Tool Kit: This toolkit provides fun and easy tools to help support lesson plans on science and water that meet multiple state educational standards. Check-out one or more of these FREE, great resources for 3rd through 12th grades created by the MKE Water Partners.
  • Every Drop Counts Activity Book: A variety of activities centered around the topics of water and Green Infrastructure to keep kids busy and learning! Print the entire book, or select pages of coloring, word searches, mazes, and more!
  • DIY Rain Gauge: Find out how much rain falls at your home with this do-it-yourself rain gauge! Easy and fun, these step-by-step instructions will guide you to make a rain gauge out of items found in your home.
  • Green and Grey Brochure - This brochure provides a quick overview of the work that MMSD does to protect public health and the environment.
  • The Water Reclamation Process for Students - This workbook provides an overview of MMSD’s work and includes fun activities.
  • STEM Brochure – The brochure highlights a variety of careers in the water industry detailing educational or certificate requirements as well as salary ranges for these jobs.

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. 

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.

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 partners with various entities to provide professional development opportunities for teachers including tours, training, and workshops that can enrich the teaching of science and environmental topics. Please fill out the outreach form and ask to be added to our educator list-serve.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 & 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 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.

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.

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.

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.