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 School District of Philadelphia. Suggested donation between $6 and $10 per student for independent, private or schools outside the city limits. Bus transportation may be available upon request to schools with a demonstrated need (use online form).

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 introductory lesson about the importance of waterways to our city. This program looks at the connection between healthy water, a healthy river ecosystem, and our city’s drinking water. Program includes an outdoor exploration of the plant and animal life in and around the Schuylkill River and students will create a river mural for the class to take home. Program takes place outdoors and inside our building.

  • Recommended Grades: K-3

Taking Nature’s Lead

Students learn how nature can provide ecological services for us. They will investigate how pervious surfaces and the shape of the land relate to stormwater runoff and water quality in the Schuylkill River. Students will explore an example of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), and learn how GSI can capture, store and clean some of the runoff before it reaches the river. Students will also learn about freshwater mussels and how they can be nature’s own mini water treatment plants!

  • Recommended Grades: 3-6

We Drink the River

Students will discover the history of our city’s water supply system and make connections between the natural and urban water cycles. Students will conduct chemical testing on samples of water they collect from the river and view microscopic life from the river under microscopes. Takes place outdoors and inside our building.

  • Recommended Grades: 5-12

Mussels in the Field

Assist PWD scientists in their research on freshwater mussels. Mussels propagated at the FWW Mussel Hatchery are put in grow-out ponds when they are a couple of months old and about 5 mm. Students will measure and weigh mussels in grow-out baskets at the Discovery Center and assess growth and survivorship rates.

Recommended Grades: 6-12


We can come to your classroom or deliver the following programs remotely:

  • Urban Watershed Basics
  • History of Philadelphia’s Water Supply
  • Freshwater Mussel Research
  • Treatment Plant Programs (We are currently unable to offer tours of our treatment plants, but our in-classroom or remote presentations on treatment plants can cover all the information about our drinking water and wastewater treatment plants)

Learn more and register for our in-person or remote programs HERE!