Educating for Sustainability


UNIT: Wastewater Context for Matter and Its Interactions

LESSON: Poop to Power

Part of a series of lessons in a unit called Wastewater Context for Matter and its interactions. Designed for middle school physical science, students are shown how the methane gas released in the digestion of sludge can be used as a fuel to power the treatment facility itself.

Lesson Specs

Suitable for Grades

8th Grade
7th Grade
6th Grade

Satisfies Academic Standards: 

OSPI ESE 2: The Natural & Built Environment
MS-PS1-4 - Chemical Reactions
MS-PS1-6 - Thermal Energy

Sustainable System Focus:


Academic Subjects


Submitted by:

Jeffrey Burgard

Last Updated:

Content Connection

Scientific Principle(s)

  1. In chemical reactions can release or absorb energy



  1. The methane released in the digestion of waste is burned in a co-generation facility to supply some of the power need to run the wastewater plant

Community Relevance

The wastewater plant saves thousands of tax dollars every year by generating electricity for the human waste it processes

Lesson Plan


  1. Video: Energy from Wastewater
  2. Video: Students in Kenya make energy from waste
  3. Powerpoint Slides



  1. Notebook

The Plan

Time needed: 15 min

  1. Show the video Energy from Wastewater
  2. Have a discussion
  3. Show the additional video Students in Kenya make energy from waste and have a discussion
  4. Share the Power-point that has a diagram of all the steps in the treatment process including co-generation and the principle for the lesson


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