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Classroom Presentations & Hands-On Activities
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

Travostino poster

Water... From Source to Sea

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 in-person classroom presentations and hands-on activities 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:

The Day the Water Stopped

Students learn where their drinking water comes from, how it is transported to their homes and schools and the importance of water in daily lives.

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


Drawing the System

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.)


Building the System

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)


pH Activity

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)


Dwayne the Storm Drain

“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)


Down the Drain

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)


Flush Back Time

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)


Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Testing

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).


EarthEcho Water Challenge (formerly World Water Monitoring Challenge)
Students conduct water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity tests on a local body of water. If interested in this program, check out

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 August 28, 2023

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