Outflow Order

Outflow Order

8-10 yrs old

11-13 yrs old

Climate & Environment



Students explore how outflow is treated for reuse.

avatar Submitted By: Minecraft Education

January 27, 2021

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  • Citizenship
  • Critical Thinking
  • Project Based Learning

Supporting Files

Complete Lesson Plan

Learning Objectives

  • Students will… Explore how outflow (wastewater) gets from a home to a water treatment plant. Understand that biosolids are used in composting. Learn how outflow is treated in order to go back into the city system.

Guiding Ideas


Students will begin their exploration in the school and right-click on the teacher. They should click Lesson 2. In doing this, they will follow the trail across the street to the water treatment plant. Here, students will learn how outflow is cleaned to be used again by farmers for irrigation. Finally, they will learn how outflow from the water treatment processes is used to make nutrient-rich compost.

Guiding Questions:

  • What are examples of outflow?
  • Where does outflow go once it goes down a drain?
  • How can water be treated to reuse it?
  • Why is clean water important, even if it is being used for farm irrigation systems?
  • Teacher Preparation & Notes

Possible NGSS standard(s):

- K-ESS3-3: Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.

- MS-ESS3-3: Apply scientific to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

The teacher should prepare three clear cups that contain the following: extremely dirty water, somewhat dirty water, and clean water.

For the closing activity, each group of students will need various materials to create a water filtration system. These can include liter soda bottles, coffee filters, cotton balls, rocks, etc. The teacher should cut the top portion off of the liter bottle ahead of time if this is being done with younger children—see “Make a Water Filter” link.
The following vocabulary will be used in this lesson and the teacher may want to introduce these to the students beforehand.

  • Reclamation
  • Clarification
  • Biosolid
  • Weir
  • Aeration
  • Microbes

Student Activities


The teacher will gather students for examples of outflow (wastewater) and jot these down on the board. Then, s/he will ask students to think about where this outflow goes. Students should take a moment to discuss this with their neighbors before sharing their answers.

Next, the teacher will bring out three clear cups. One will have extremely dirty water, one will have somewhat dirty water, and one will have clean water. S/he will ask students which cup of water they would rather use to water a plant or drink (the one with the clean water) and why. The teacher will ask students to think about what it means to have clean water and how the process of treating water may happen.

Minecraft World Exploration:

Students should take notes on what they learn as they complete this exploration.

Students will begin their exploration in the school by the teacher. They should right-click on her and choose Lesson 2. They will find themselves guided to the city’s water treatment plant. They will need to begin at the front where they will be introduced to the NPC who explains what an outflow reclamation plant is and does (PE1). Next, the student will make his/her way around the outside of the plant, learning about the process of water treatment. It is important that students take note of the changing color of the water as it goes through the treatment process. This can be seen behind the NPCs (PE2, PE3). Each NPC explains a particular process in the water treatment process.

After learning about disinfection, students will walk to an NPC that will explain that clean water can now be used for farm irrigation (PE2, PE3). Then, students will follow the trail to the NPC that explains how biosolids taken from treating the outflow can be used to create nutrient-rich compost.

Students can click the “Compost” button to be transported to that area. If they do, they will read about how biosolids are used in the composting process. Students may explore this area, but it is not required.

Note: See Full Lesson plan for all activities.

Performance Expectations

Students will be able to…

  • Give examples of outflow and where this water goes (PE1).
  • Explain how outflow can be treated to be reused by farmers (PE2).
  • Explain why treating outflow is important before reusing it (PE3).
  • Understand basic water filtration systems to be used in the classroom (PE4).


  • Citizenship
  • Critical Thinking
  • Project Based Learning

Supporting Files

Complete Lesson Plan