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Classroom Presentations
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

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Water... From Source to Sea

(Updated August 29, 2022)

The mission of the MWRA School Education Program is to educate teachers and students about the public health significance of water supply and wastewater treatment, including source protection, treatment and distribution of drinking water and the environmental benefits of a state of the art wastewater treatment facility.

The MWRA offers School Education Program presentations designed to be done with individual classes in the classroom setting for grades K-12.  Subjects range from the Quabbin Reservoir and the distribution system to Deer Island and the transformation of wastewater into effluent. We still offer virtual presentations if you prefer. See below for presentations that can be done virtually.

Schools are not charged for this service.  However, they must be located in an MWRA community

Classroom visits are scheduled on a first come/first serve basis. To schedule a classroom presentation, please email Meg Tabacsko at meg.tabacsko@mwra with Classroom Presentation Request in the subject line.

Please list a minimum of three dates that work on your end or say something like “any day in October except for Fridays”, “prefer Tuesdays or Thursdays”, etc.

Please state the school name and town and grade level(s).

Listed below are some of the most popular presentations we have to offer:


Down the Drain (offered virtually)

An interactive presentation that answers the questions: What is wastewater?…Where does it come from?…Where does it go?  The 30“ X 40” presentation boards depict each stage of the wastewater treatment process.  Props are velcroed to the boards to show what get stopped along the way.  Students see actual samples of wastewater as it progresses through the system.

Recommended grade level: 4 –12. More information and terminology is introduced with the upper grades. (Classes may be combined for this presentation)


Building the System (in-person only)

Using straws and cardboard tubes, students will build a model water distribution system throughout the classroom.  Discussion subjects include water pressure, public health and safety, maintenance, repair, and planning of infrastructure.

Recommended grade level: 3 – 5. (Because of the materials needed and hands-on component, classes cannot be combined for this presentation)


Flush Back Time (in-person only)

History and technology meet in this original MWRA production.  This slide show presentation documents the history of the toilet and plumbing systems and the changes in technology through the centuries.  It also follows the history of waste disposal methods throughout the ages.  See and discuss slides of garderobes used in medieval times to present-day vacuum toilets.

Recommended grade level: 4-12. (Classes may be combined for this presentation)


pH Activity (modified presentation offered virtually)

Questions answered during this presentation include…How does the MWRA treat drinking water?…What makes water safe to drink?…What is lead and how does it present a problem in drinking water supply systems?  Using gloves and goggles, students will work in groups to measure the pH of drinking water.

Recommended grade level: 5-8. (Because of the materials needed and the hands-on component, classes cannot be combined for this presentation)


Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Testing (in-person only)

Dissolved Oxygen is one of the most important indicators of water quality. Using the “Winkler Method”, students will test the DO levels of water samples at different temperatures. After testing is completed, we will discuss how the DO levels of Boston Harbor have increased over the years.

Recommended grade level: 7-12. (Because of the materials needed and the hands-on component, classes cannot be combined for this presentation).


Dwayne the Storm Drain (offered virtually)

“Dwayne” takes students through each season explaining how nature and humans affect the storm water system.  After reading this colorful big book, students will understand their connection to the system.

Recommended grade level: K-4. (Classes may be combined for this presentation)


Drawing the System (in-person only)

Students are introduced to the water delivery system.  Using crayons and large paper rolled out in the middle of the classroom, students work together to create a map connecting pipes to buildings in their community.

Recommended grade level: 2 & 3. (Space is needed to roll out a 25’ piece of butcher block paper with students on both sides of the paper, classes can be combined but, space is needed for each class to have their own piece of paper.  Each student needs crayons, markers and/or colored pencils for this presentation).


The Day the Water Stopped (offered virtually)

Sparks the curiosity and awareness of the importance of water in daily lives of the students. After reading this big book to the students, the work pages provided are to act as a springboard for discussion, a catalyst for dramatic interpretation, or maybe even a hunt at home with Mom and Dad to discover things that use water.

Recommended grade levels: K-2. (Classes may be combined for this presentation)

Virtual presentations can be done with individual classes or combined classes. We do not limit the number of students. The school is responsible for providing a link to MWRA School Program to conduct the presentation. A virtual presentation form will be sent to the school and must be returned to the MWRA School Program prior to the presentation. To schedule a classroom visit, contact Meg Tabacsko at 617-799-8852 or

In addition to classroom presentations, the MWRA has a number of printed and audio visual materials available for distribution to educators and their students.  To learn more about the MWRA’s School Education program, check out our School Program page.

Only schools located in the MWRA Service Area listed below are eligible to participate in our classroom presentations

Water Communities
Chicopee Peabody
Clinton Saugus
Leominster Southborough
Lynn  South Hadley
Lynnfield Swampscott
Marblehead Weston
Marlborough Wilbraham
Nahant Worcester
Sewer Communities
Ashland Lancaster
Braintree Natick
Burlington Randolph
Hingham Walpole
Holbrook Weymouth
Water and Sewer Communities
Arlington Newton
Bedford Norwood
Belmont Quincy
Boston Reading
Brookline Revere
Cambridge Somerville
Canton Stoneham
Chelsea Stoughton
Dedham Wakefield
Everett Waltham
Framingham Watertown
Lexington Wellesley
Malden Westwood
Medford Wilmington
Melrose Winchester
Milton Winthrop
Needham Woburn

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Updated September 8, 2022

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