Did you know you can recycle waste water? Let's put greywater to good use!

About This Video

Grade level: 6-10
Length: 2 minutes
NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: MS-ESS3.A, MS-ESS3.C, MS-ETS1.A

In this video, we'll explore how new technology is helping homes and businesses recycle both greywater and blackwater to reduce their overall water consumption. Below are discussion questions you can use in the classroom in conjunction with this video to engage your students with this innovative solution.

Video Discussion Questions

  1. Why do we need to be smarter and more innovative about our water use?
  2. What is waste water?  
  3. What is the difference between greywater and blackwater?  Are they recycled in the same way and used for the same purposes?
  4. What's special about the design of the Public Utilities Commission building in San Francisco?  How has this design influenced their water use?
  5. What are some of the benefits of recycling waste water?

Science Texts for Students

Use this resource to ground your understanding before integrating this video into your lesson. Alternatively, allow your students to practice close reading of scientific texts by passing out the article and the empty version of the chart—let them do the work!

Because the issues we're exploring in Flipside Science are complex, we've evaluated how the solution fares across three important dimensions: the environment, the economy, and society.

Accompanying Activity: Sustainable Water Solutions

Weighing the pros and cons

Weighing the Pros and Cons
How do we assess the benefits and drawbacks of various solutions to a problem? To decide how one potential solution compares to another, we have to consider the pros and cons of each from many dimensions: environmental, social, cultural, and economic. In this activity, students will work together to map out the strengths and limitations of potential solutions to some important water use and conservation issues.

Connections to the Next Generation Science Standards

While this video doesn't necessarily cover the following standards in depth, it is a compelling resource you can use to supplement your curriculum that does.

Disciplinary Core Ideas (Grades 6-8):

  • MS-ESS3.A: Natural Resources
  • MS-ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth System
  • MS-ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems

Crosscutting Concepts (Grades 6-8):

  • Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World

Fresh Solutions: About This Unit

Humans depend on water, and our need for this precious resource is growing alongside our population. How will we meet the needs of the future without harming the environment? We'll explore the environmental issues related to our water use and how simple choices we make impact our planet.This unit introduces students to the process of design thinking, and culminates in a design thinking challenge related to water conservation issues.


KQED Quest: Engineering is Cleaning Poop from Drinking Water
The e-book explores the science and engineering principles behind the Lotus Water project’s device designed to purify drinking water in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The e-book includes videos, interactives, and media making opportunities!

SFPUC: Non-potable Water Program
How does San Francisco collect, treat, and use non-potable water where people work and live? Check out the building schematic for a simple diagram, or explore the in-depth case studies.

SFPUC: Recycled Water
Read how San Francisco use recycled water, especially in local parks and fountains.

The Latest in Conservation Tech: Gamify Your Home Water Use
This article from GOOD magazine showcases a Kickstarter-funded project that may resonate with your students.

Wastewater Electricity
Learn how researchers are producing electricity from wastewater.

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