Objective: To test understanding of wastewater terms.
Materials: Index cards, Go Flush Cards (one set per group)
Background: Water is important to life. Nearly three quarters of the human body is
made up of water. Water is used for a multitude of reasons. Large amounts of clean
water have made our lives easier in many ways. However, our uses of water have put a
strain on the available resources, thus creating a need for humans to recycle used water
in ways that will clean it and make it useable again.
One of these ways is through the wastewater treatment process. This process involves
multiple steps and is used to re-introduce "cleaned-up" water back into the water cycle.
Make copies of the game cards and have students glue them to index cards.
This card game is played just like Go Fish. Half of the cards have questions; the other
half have answers.
Dive the class into small groups of 3-5 students.
Have dealer pass out 5 cards to each player. The remaining cards should be placed as
the "Go Flush" deck from which the students draw extra cards.
The person to the left of the dealer goes first. They ask any player if they have the
answer or question to one of their cards. If the player does have the correct card, they
give it to player #1.
Player #1 puts the matched pair (the question card with the corresponding answer card)
down and goes again. Play continues until Player #1 doesn't make a match. At that
point, Player #1 draws from the "Go Flush" deck. If no match is made the next player
has a turn. If a match is made (from the draw), Player #1 is afforded another turn. Play
continues until Player #1 can not make a match from either an opponent or from the
The person to the left of Player #1 then proceeds, asking for a match to a question or
answer card in his/her hand.
The first person to match all their cards is the winner.
Have students draw a picture of the wastewate treatment process, beginning at their
home and continuing through water being reintroduced into a river/stream.
Show video "Nature's Way" which can be borrowed from the Big Sioux Water Festival
(local teachers only) lending library at no cost. This video is a 12-minute show
describing the wastewater treatment process.
Students can construct their own wastewater treatment plant from the "Sparkling Water"
activity in the Project WET, Curriculum and Activity Guide.
Activated: Using dissolved oxygen to speed up the process by which microorganisms
break down suspended and dissolved organic matter in sewage; as in oxygenation
Aerated: Compressed air forced into wastewater to help keep lighter organic material in
suspension, while allowing fine sand and silt to settle to the bottom; as in grit removal
Artificial Wetland: Man-made pond designed to replace or imitate a natural wetland
Bacteria: A group of micro-organisms used in the breakdown of organic matter in
Biodegradable: Able to be readily decomposed by biological means (bacteria action)
Biosolids: Stabilized sludge that can be beneficially reused
Chlorine: A powerful gas used to deodorize wastewater during treatment and as a
disinfectant to kill any disease germs in the effluent prior to discharge
Dewater: The process in which water is removed from a substance, such as grit or
Ecosystem: The network in which a given plant or animal lives and is supported by other
organic processes and inorganic conditions
Effluent: Wastewater which flows out of the treatment plant, or a process in it
Erosion: Soil depletion caused by running water or wind
Gravity: The force which pulls objects to earth; used to settle solids out of wastewater
Hydrologic Cycle: The natural steps of evaporation, precipitation and runoff which are
involved in the water cycle
Incinerate: To burn organic waste materials
Influent: Wastewater which flows into the treatment plant, or a process in it
Interceptor: A large pipeline which takes collected wastewater from sewers and delivers
it to the treatment plant
Organics: Of or related to a substance that contain carbon atoms linked by
Percolation: To drain or ooze through a porous substance
Pollutant: Any substance which dirties air, land or water; as the organic and inorganic
matter found in wastewater
Primary treatment: The first in the order of several treatment stages in sewage treatment
which removes about 30-40% of the pollutants
Purification: The process by which pollutants are removed from wastewater
Sanitary Sewer System: A sewerage system that carries only household and
Secondary treatment: Second in the order of several treatment stages in sewage
treatment which removes about 90% of the pollutants
Sedimentation: The removal of solid materials from a fluid suspension by gravitational
Septage: The remaining material which accumulates in a septic tank over time as a
result of biological activity in the tank
Sewage: Solids and liquid waste material collected from homes, stores and industries;
Sludge: Solid organic waste material which settles to the bottom of the sedimentation
tanks and is removed for digestion
Stabilization Pond: A natural or artificial pond for recovering the solids from effluent or
Storm Drain System: The underground pipe system that controls flooding from rainfall
Wastewater: Water which is filled with man's pollutants; sewage
Wastewater treatment system: Physical, chemical, and biological processes used to
remove pollutants from wastewater before discharging it into a water body
Activity source and adapted from: The Association of Environmental Authorities
SD Standards for 4th grade:
4.R.1.1; 4.R.1.12; 4.R.2.1; 4.R.2.3
Prior Preparation: Prior to this
activity, students should become
familiar with the wastewater treatment
process by reviewing the US EPA
poster "How Do We Treat Our
Wastewater?". Another resource
would be The Water Sourcebook's
activity on wastewater treatment
called, ":The Wastewater Story".
wastewater, wastewater treatment
system, chlorine, aerated, sludge,
incinerate, effluent, primary and
secondary wastewater treatment,
organics, sedimentation, stabilization
ponds, artificial wetlands, activated,
bacteria, biodegradable, biosolids,
ecosystem, erosion, gravity, hydrologic
cycle, influent, interceptor, percolation,
pollutant, purification, sanitary sewer
system, septage, sewage