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Educating for Sustainability


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UNIT: Wastewater Context for Matter and Its Interactions

LESSON: Cleaning Products and Wastewater

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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 will learn about common harmful cleaning supplies and natural alternatives
LESSON: Cleaning Products and Wastewater

Lesson Specs

Suitable for Grades

8th Grade
7th Grade
6th Grade

Satisfies Academic Standards: 

MS-PS1-3 - Synthetic Materials
OSPI ESE 1: Ecological, Social, Economic Systems
OSPI ESE 3: Sustainability & Civic Responsibility

Sustainable System Focus:


Academic Subjects


Submitted by:

Jeffrey Burgard

Last Updated:

June 12, 2020 at 7:18:59 PM

Content Connection

Scientific Principle(s)

  1. Synthetic substances are not found in nature and are made from natural resources and human technology



  1. A lot synthetic substances are found in body and household cleaners that we use everyday - eventually they find their way into wastewater.

Community Relevance

Reducing the use of synthetic and harmful ingredients in our everyday cleaning will reduce the damage we do to the Puget Sound with our wastewater

Lesson Plan

Teacher Materials


  1. Article: Harmful ingredients found in our products make 1 for each student - one class set
  2. 8 small whiteboards, easel pages or chalk boards
  3. 4 colors of pen or chalk for each group


Additional teacher resources

  1. Article: An Intro to Polymers
  2. Video: Cleaning products and air quality
  3. Video: Harmful cleaners
  4. Website: Principles of green Chemistry
  5. Curriculum: Hazards on the Home Front


Student Materials

  1. Notebook
  2. Harmful ingredients student sheet


  1. Time needed: 1 Period
  2. Distribute the Harmful ingredients found in our products and Harmful ingredients student sheet to each student
  3. Divide up the students into eight groups
  4. Make each group responsible for a different ingredient and for creating a whiteboard of information covering the four columns on the student sheet
  5. Make sure each student has their own color of pen, or chalk if using a chalk so that the contribution of each student can be seen
  6. Have students read the information and fill out the table for their ingredient - silently first 5 minutes.
  7. Have groups talk about what they have found for 3 minutes.
  8. Lets students work on their poster or whiteboard for 10 minutes
  9. Have all students move around the room on a gallery walk to collect all information
  10. For the last bit of class have students share “what surprised them”


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