Understanding the Urban Watershed

The Fairmount Water Works designed a place-based, hands-on, minds-in Curriculum for students to engage with their local watershed and water system, in order to grow their understanding of issues and take action for a more equitable and sustainable future they want for themselves.

The Curriculum website was designed to be a shared community for feedback, new resources, examples of student work, instructional successes and challenges.

Jump in!

4th/5th grade and High School Units are being piloted in 2021-22. Find the feedback form we created after each Learning Experience to share your feedback

Middle School is being implemented in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia and GreenFutures. Let us know if you want to join our growing cohort.

For more information or questions, email Ellen.Schultz@phila.gov

Select which curriculum you want to visit:

Understanding the Urban Watershed

A Middle School Curriculum

Water connects us all. This website is an expedition into the Fairmount Water Works’ Understanding the Urban Watershed Curriculum, which offers an integrated approach to learning using Philadelphia’s water story as the context.

The Curriculum Project

The learning experiences presented here provide a complement of engaging lessons and activities, materials, rubrics and resources designed for the middle school student. With a quick log in option, it also offers formal and informal educators online access to join our Discussion Forum, an online forum for sharing ideas, successes and challenges.

In fall 2014, Fairmount Water Works launched a three year Middle School Teacher Fellowship Program to develop an integrated urban watershed curriculum for grades 6–8, aligned with core standards. This phase of the development and piloting of the curriculum was completed in June 2017. The 3-year project was supported by the William Penn Foundation and the Philadelphia Water Department.

Curriculum Units

The curriculum is made up of 6 units. Each unit is made up of individual Learning Experiences.

Unit 1

Water in Our World

Students will develop a basic appreciation of and love for the value of water.

Unit 2

Drinking Water & You

Students will understand how a safe and reliable drinking water supply system works.

Unit 3

Down the Drain or Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Students will discover how cities engineer an effective wastewater systems and how it works.

Unit 4

Land and Water: A Delicate Balance

Students will understand the environmental balancing act between land use and development and water quality.

Unit 5

Green (and Blue) Plan for the Future: Playing a Part

Students will explore 21st-century solutions that promote sustainable practices on land that impact water quality.

Unit 6

Environmental Stewardship, Climate Change and Youth Action

Students will transform their ideas and knowledge into action in their schools, neighborhoods and city.