March 26, 2024

Virginia Beach Public Utilities Hosts STEM Event for Elementary Students

The event focused on immersing students in STEM-related concepts and activities that align with the City's Public Utilities department.

Staff member demonstrating to students what not to flush

Virginia Beach elementary schoolers and their parents filled the halls of Landstown High School on Saturday, March 2, to learn about water management in the city.  

The first-ever event, Tour de Water: The Cycle of Drinking Water, featured stations focused on teaching students concepts in science, technology, engineering and math that were aligned with the City’s Public Utilities department.  

Participating students received a passport to be stamped at each of the five stations: Use Water Wisely, Build a Water Tower, Leak Detective, What Not to Flush and Touch-A-Truck.  

The Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities partnered with Virginia Beach Public Schools’ director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to host this half-day event as part of Schools’ VOICE initiative (VB Opportunity for Innovation through Community Engagement).  

Use Water Wisely 

This station highlighted the limits of drinking water and the importance of water conservation. Students learned that less than 1% of all the water on Earth is available for human consumption, calculated how many gallons of water they use each week, and helped brainstorm different ways to save water around their homes.  

Powerpoint presentation to students on how to Calculate Your Water Use

Build a Water Tower 

At this station, students learned why our City needs water towers and how to use different materials to build strong systems. They were challenged to build their own water tower using popsicle sticks, straws and tape that could hold a cup of water. Each student successfully completed the challenge.  

Leak Detective 

Students hunted for dripping faucets, running toilets, and leaking water fountains around the school to save the Earth’s most precious resource, prevent damage and save money. Students discovered that some leaks are harder to find and that even small drips from a faucet can add up to significant water loss.  

What Not to Flush 

This station introduced students to the sanitary sewer system, and where water travels after it goes down the drain. Students took turns placing different household items, such as “flushable” wipes and paper towels, down a display pipe to see what would happen. Spoiler alert – the pipe quickly became clogged! Students learned the importance of not flushing these items and steps they can take to prevent clogged pipes in their homes and in the City’s sanitary sewer system. 


Students learned how the drinking water system and the sanitary sewer system are maintained and repaired. They could explore the ins and outs of a backhoe, excavator, two dump trucks and a CCTV truck, which uses cameras to inspect for damage or obstructions in the City’s pipes. 

Bonus Station: Water Taste Test 

Participants could taste Virginia Beach tap water and bottled water, unaware of which was which, and vote for the one they thought tasted best. Virginia Beach tap water won the taste test by five votes, 30 - 25.  

Students drinking water at water taste test station

Contact Information

Keep Reading

See All Posts