The third module, titled “Groundwater”, was designed for 7th graders, but could easily be instituted with a 6th grade or 8th grade class. This module requires several class periods to successful complete the objectives. The first class is for background and the scope of groundwater and potable water on the planet while the remaining classes are centered around water testing. Module 3 – Groundwater
Class #1 – Introduction
After a short presentation that introduces students to groundwater, students will be divided in half to perform two activities.
A Drop in the Bucket (activity) – 20 mins
This activity will have students calculate the percent of fresh water available for human use and explain why water is a limited resource. They will do this by dividing water from a 1000 mL beaker into smaller and smaller sections that represent water on the planet.
Groundwater (activity) – 20 mins
This activity has students observe and interact with a groundwater system and see what happens when pollution enters a groundwater system.
Class #2 – Presentation Day
This class kicks off the water testing unit. Students will take the knowledge they gained from the previous class and add it to information that is presented to them during this period. This class is presentation and question based. Students will receive a 30-40 minutes presentation outlining the greater depths of groundwater systems, potential contaminants, and testing methods. Students will then receive testing bottles to sample their own wells for the following class.
Class #3 – Testing Day
Students will bring their water samples to class and test their own water for contaminants and general physical characteristics of water including; pH, conductivity, iron, nitrates, chloride, and hardness. Students will complete the series of simple tests and record the data. They will then locate their homes on Google Maps and provide GPS coordinates. The facilitator of the class will take the data and create maps that show a distribution of the data across the town.
Class #4 – Analysis of the Data
In this class students will take all the data and maps and begin working on a presentation of the data. The class looks for trends in the data and on the maps, and they are able to see how the different chemical parameters are affected by the geography of the area. Students are also given a crash course presentation on how the Geographic Information System (GIS) software used to develop the maps is used.
Class #5 – Hypothesis
In this class, students take the data that was collected and create a hypothesis to explain potential patterns and trends. Examples include “Do older houses have more iron in their water?”, “Does altitude affect pH?” and “Does road proximity affect chloride?”. Students then present their study in the format of a scientific poster.