Learn With Central San
Preventing Pollution & Protecting The Environment

Learn With Central San

Central San’s education programs are designed to help students understand “what happens to our dirty water after it goes down the drain.

For a sneak peak, please click on the image to watch our newest education video: Disappearing Act!

Disappearing Act tells the story of Mateo and his friend Toot the Toilet. Mateo is a young magician who becomes increasingly consumed with his perceived power to make anything disappear down the drain.

All of our education programs can be found below. They are offered free of charge to teachers, schools, and families.

If you’re ready to sign up or would like more information, please contact Ben Lavender: blavender@centralsan.org or (925) 335-7723.

Bonus Resource: Disappearing Act Watching Guide

The watching guide is a tool to learn more about what students are seeing and thinking as they watch Mateo and Toot’s adventure. Below you can find timestamps to pause the video and questions to ask students at select points along the way. Enjoy!

Pause at time stamp 1:06

Ask students to guess what they think Mateo and Toot will try to make “disappear” next?

After they share their answers, press play again and say “let’s watch what happens to see if we were right?!”

Pause at time stamp 2:45

Ask students if they notice a change in Toot’s behavior at this point? How do we think Toot is feeling about what is happening right now?

We can also ask students if they have a prediction about what they think is going to happen next?

After they share their answers, press play again and say “let’s watch to see what we can figure out!”

Stop at the end of the video

Ask students if they think that toilets can make things magically disappear? If the answer is no, then what do we think we should do instead of flushing all that stuff down the toilet?

Bonus Resource: Disappearing Act Behind The Scenes Video

A lot of work went into the making of Disappearing Act! A very talented young local actor plays Toot’s friend Mateo. Even though Toot is one of the stars, he didn’t actually appear in video when we first filmed it. Instead, we used another toilet—and sometimes other objects or people—for Toot’s stand-in. Mateo had to act as if Toot was really there with him the whole time. Click on the behind the scenes video to see more!


Pipe Protectors
Elementary Lessons for Grades TK-5

Pipe Protectors

Pipe Protectors is Central San’s suite of elementary classroom (or outdoor!) lessons. All aspects of our program have been developed to support hands-on wastewater science and engineering for students in TK through 5th grade.

The goal of every Central San lesson is to help students think more critically about what happens to our dirty water after it goes down the drain?”


Delta Discovery Voyage
Field Trip for 5th Grade

Classroom science lessons come alive for fifth graders on the RV Robert G. Brownlee, a 90-foot-long research vessel that provides a safe and stable floating laboratory for students. The ship is owned and operated by the Marine Science Institute of Redwood City.

Central San co-sponsors a three-and-a-half hour excursion on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta where students learn about the source of their drinking water and the importance of pollution prevention.


Rock Steady School Programs
Water and Wastewater Assembly for Elementary Schools

Go With The Flow is an exciting, interactive program that delivers important messages from exploring our local water and wastewater systems, to conservation and environmental connectivity.

Students and teachers interact with the performers as music, singing, storytelling and comedy bring our messages to life. The 45 minute program is great for elementary students of all grade levels!


Sewer Science
Classroom Laboratory for High School

The Sewer Science program is a five-day wastewater treatment lab for high school students. This hands-on laboratory lets students make, treat, and test wastewater over several consecutive days.

Developed specifically to meet the needs of grades 9-12, the curriculum integrates chemistry, physics, and microbiology. Almost all the materials required for running the lab – including the instructor and all necessary tanks, testing kits, and perishable materials – are provided by Central San.


Go With The Flow
By Foot Or By Bike

Central San collects and cleans more than 35 million gallons of wastewater each and every day. Much of this collection process occurs underground, making it invisible to most people. However, there just so happens to be a pedestrian-friendly way to follow where your wastewater goes!

For 21 miles, the Iron Horse Trail pedestrian and bicycling path follows one of our sewer lines—nearly the entirety of the flow from the southeastern-most corner of our service area in San Ramon all the way to our treatment plant in Martinez.


Distance Learning
Hands-On Wastewater Science From A Distance

In the days before the pandemic, we used to travel to K-12 classrooms in order teach students the hands on science and engineering of wastewater and wastewater treatment. 

Nearly all of the supplies we use are solid wastes diverted from landfill, including donated biotech supplies and repurposed household materials. This design is on purpose. As an agency that sits on the receiving end of one kind of waste stream, we are sensitive to the realities that affect all waste streams.