COVID19 Update: The Interpretive Center is closed to the public until further notice. Read the latest statement here.

School Programs

Since the opening of Fairmount Water Works, tens of thousands of teachers and students have visited and participated in our unique programs created to meld the science, technology, engineering, art & architecture and math (STEAM) behind providing drinking water, protecting our source water and within a regional urban watershed.

Three girls set up a science experiment at a lab table, using a dropper to move liquid from a beaker to petri dishes.

We have designed programs that are suitable for all grades and that meet both Pennsylvania and New Jersey Educational Standards. All programs are free to students in the City of Philadelphia. Suggested donation between $5 and $10 per student outside the city limits. Bus transportation may be available upon request to schools with a demonstrated need (use online form).

To arrange a visit for your school group, please fill out our online request form.

Lesson Programs Available:

We offer a number of themed lessons. Each lesson runs about two hours in length, including a hands-on component, and most can be adapted to any age.

Wondrous World of Water

Wondrous World of Water is an excellent overview lesson about water: past, present and future. A good introductory program that sets the foundation for further study.

  • Recommended Grades: K-12

Understanding the Urban Watershed

In this field trip experience, discover how our water supply system began, how we keep it safe and clean, and what happens to all the water that goes down the drain or runs off our streets, sidewalks, and rooftops. Students will connect with these topics in interactive ways appropriate to their grade level on a guided journey through our site – inside and outside.

  • Recommended Grades: 3-8

Seeing is Believing: A Drop in the Bucket

Seeing is Believing: A Drop in the Bucket is a laboratory-based program that utilizes real-time freshwater samples from the Schuylkill River to observe, record and draw microscopic life in the river.

  • Recommended Grades: 6-12

Who Speaks for the River?Learning from the Past: An Environmental Role Play Activity about Philadelphia in the Industrial Age

This lesson explores the complex issues related to providing and protecting the public water supply through the lens of 19th century industrial Philadelphia. Students will role-play various points of view and debate about who should be take responsibility.

  • Recommended Grades: 7-12