Utility Reaches Thousands of Students Via Virtual Water/Wastewater Education Hub

Utility Reaches Thousands of Students Via Virtual Water/Wastewater Education Hub

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COVID-19 hasn’t stopped the flow of wastewater into treatment plants, and it shouldn’t stop the stream of water education either.

The Prince William County (Virginia) Service Authority now offers a new opportunity for kids to learn about the world of water and wastewater through virtual models, activities and interactive presentations. It’s available thanks to an online learning hub called H2Go Kids.

The authority has converted its classroom outreach to virtual education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online platform focuses on a variety of water, wastewater and environmental topics geared toward younger students.

In previous years, the authority has reached over 10,000 students with classroom presentations and community events.

“H2Go Kids is an online education hub that brings our classroom and community outreach programs into a virtual environment,” says Michelle Bouchard, education and outreach assistant. “At the H2Go Kids website, children in grades K-6 can access fun activities, do-it-yourself experiments and worksheets.”

Michelle Bouchard, education and outreach assistant
Michelle Bouchard, education and outreach assistant

The content is designed based on the Virginia Standards of Learning for Science and relates directly to the authority’s mission to provide safe and reliable water service. Bouchard and other members on the community outreach team have created activity sheets and hands-on experiments, along with pre-recorded video lessons that educators can download at any time.

“For the younger kids, we focus on resources and pollution with a story-based lesson,” Bouchard says. “And the older students get to see the power of water through models focused on topics like erosion and groundwater.”

The most popular tutorial so far focused on watersheds, says Bouchard. “We created a 3D model of a watershed landscape to discuss pollution and human impact on the environment. Students in many grades discuss watersheds, so this lesson is something we are sharing on a weekly basis.”

Also popular is the EnviroScapes model, a presentation that offers students a greater sense of the world around them by demonstrating the journey of water from the surface, through water and wastewater treatment, and back to the source again.

While popular presentations are rotated frequently, the staff is always working to bring new content to the site. “We add a new activity to the web page about every two months, and we are always reviewing the existing content to make sure we only have the best out there,” Bouchard says. “We are also always creating new activities that are specific to days, like Imagine a Day Without Water on Oct. 21 and Halloween.”

As for the cost, everything is absolutely free. “We would never want the cost to be a barrier to kids having access to our educational resources.”

To learn more about the program and resources offered, visit www.H2GoKids.org.


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