Teach the Earth > Introductory Courses > Activities > Introduction to Groundwater Assignment

Introduction to Groundwater Assignment

Sara Rathburn
,
Colorado State University
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: Nov 16, 2009

Summary

In this lab, students investigate groundwater flow and water quality within a groundwater well field on the CSU campus. The well field is part of the GroundWater Education and Teaching (GetWET) Observatory.

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Context

Audience

Suited for Introductory Geology Laboratory for non-majors or majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have an understanding of basic hydrology, including having been introduced to concepts such as porosity, permeability, Darcy's law, and groundwater flow paths. Basic mathematics skills are also required to complete this assignment.

How the activity is situated in the course

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

  • Master field data collection of surface and groundwater quantity and quality
  • Utilize data to construct a water table map
  • Develop a flow net
  • Calculate hydraulic gradient
  • Understand the difference between porosity and permeability
  • Interpret gaining or losing nature of a stream
  • Calculate a contaminate transport rate

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

  • Interpret groundwater flow relative to surface flow
  • Construct a hydrogeologic cross section
  • Evaluate differences between groundwater and surface water quality
  • Predict how human activities might affect each of the parameters

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

In this lab, students investigate groundwater flow and water quality within a groundwater well field on the CSU campus. The well field is part of the GroundWater Education and Teaching (GetWET) Observatory south of the Hilton Inn off Centre Drive. Students determine water flow paths and rates as well as measure water quality parameters such as water temperature, pH, electrical conductivity, and dissolved oxygen.

Materials needed for this lab include:
  • Groundwater equipment: Groundwater well or wells adjacent to a perennial stream.
  • Water quantity equipment: Electronic water meter, staff, plate, tape, stop watch, and float to measure surface velocity.
  • Water quality equipment: pH, temperature specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen meters, bailer, and bucket to collect samples.
  • Other equipment: Map of site showing location of wells and stream.

Determining whether students have met the goals

We have developed a key specific for grading the exercises to ensure TA grading is consistent.

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