The other day my not quite 6 year old was sitting at the table, eating dinner, when he paused, looked at me and asked, “Mommy, where does it go when you flush the toilet.” I suggested that perhaps the dinner table was not quite the best place for the discussion, but in the short of it, to the wastewater treatment plant. “Oh,” he replied.
Fast forward about an hour and in our discussions of our next school day I asked him if there was anything in particular that he wanted to do. “I want to learn about toilets,” he suggests. Ok. This is when it dawns on me – there is likely an entire unit out there that would cover plenty of science and history just by learning about toilets – and related subjects. Imagine my not so big surprise when I discovered that no one else out there has done the work for me. I’ll have to come up with my very own lesson plans. Yup…
So, in the interests of bridging in the gap, I thought I’d share what I’ve come up with. The plan…as it were. I’d like to be able to touch on things like the sewage/wastewater treatment plant, septic tanks, humanure, toilets (and their history), and grey water. I’m sure there will be a mechanical/engineering lesson as we learn just exactly how it is that the toilet works, how one fixes it, and the different toilets out there (possibly in the world?). I’ve only just begun researching, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
“Flush! The Scoop on Poop Through Out the Ages” by Charice Mericle Harper
“Everyone Poops” by Taro Gomi (for my younger two)
“The Truth About Poop” by Susan E. Goodman
“Toilets, Bathtubs, Sinks, and Sewers: A History of the Bathroom” by Penny Colman
“Wastewater (Dealing with Waste)” by Sally Morgan
“Flush!: Treating Wastewater” by Karen Mueller Coombs
“Goodbye to the Flush Toilet: Water-Saving Alternatives to Cesspools, Septic Tanks, and Sewers” by Carol Hupping Stoner
“The Toilet Papers: Recycling Waste and Conserving Water” by Sim Van der Ryn
“What Did We Use Before Toilet Paper?: 200 Curious Questions and Intriguing Answers” by Andrew Thompson
“Toilets of the World” by Morna E. Gregory
“The Porcelain God: A Social History of the Toilet” by L. Julie Horn
“Flushed: How the Plumber Saved Civilization” by W. Hodding Carter
Collect pennies/family fundraising for clean water – Living Water International