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UNIT: Wastewater Context for Matter and Its Interactions

LESSON: Density and Primary Treatment

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Part of a series of lessons in a unit called Wastewater Context for Matter and its interactions. Designed for middle school physical science, students discover how density plays a major role in the treatment of wastewater.
LESSON: Density and Primary Treatment

Lesson Specs

Suitable for Grades

8th Grade
7th Grade
6th Grade

Satisfies Academic Standards: 

OSPI ESE 2: The Natural & Built Environment
MS-PS1-2 - Properties of Substances

Sustainable System Focus:

Buildings and Urban Planning

Academic Subjects


Submitted by:

Jeffrey Burgard

Last Updated:

June 12, 2020 at 7:14:29 PM

Content Connection

After students complete activities related to density, this activity explores the importance of density in the treatment process. In wastewater treatment, density is used during primary treatment. The wastewater is held in settling tanks which allows the substances in the wastewater to separate according to density.


Scientific Principle(s)

  1. Density is a characteristic property and sinking and floating are observable evidence of different densities



  1. Primary treatment involves letting the wastewater settle in tanks so that the substances will separate by density

Community Relevance


Lesson Plan

Teacher Material

  1. Primary treatment PowerPoint Slides


Student Materials

  1. Notebooks
  2. Initial Design Page


Time needed: 1 class period

  1. After students finish the density lessons, download and show the Primary treatment PowerPoint slides (Directions and what to say are in the notes section of each slide)
  2. The slide indicating the core scientific principle from the lessons and the application to wastewater are within the slide set. Have them copy this down in their notebooks.
  3. At the end of the slide show, students revise their original wastewater treatment design, and share their changes with the class.
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