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Using Excel for Aquifer Test

Yongli Gao
East Tennessee State University

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
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This page first made public: Jul 19, 2005


Entry level undergraduate students who use commercial software packages for aquifer test often feel frustrated and distant from real field test. This session introduces a method of aquifer test using Excel spreadsheet. Students are generally more interested in creating interactive tools to process aquifer test data to help them better understand aquifer response to pumping.

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Undergraduate required course in hydrogeology

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Familiar with college level calculus and algebra, basic operations of excel and methodology of aquifer test

How the activity is situated in the course

Part of a sequence of exercises to help students understand single and multiple aquifer tests.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Aquifer Test, Well Hydraulics, and Field Methods in Hydrogeology

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Developing interactive tools to facilitate critical thinking

Other skills goals for this activity

Create simple mathematical models in Excel, work in groups, and to learn how to formulate complex mathematical equations in Excel.

Description of the activity/assignment

This exercise is part of a sequence of exercises to help students understand single and multiple aquifer tests. In class, students will receive data from pumping tests at University of Minnesota's hydrogeology field site. Instead of using commercial software, students will create interactive modeling tools to facilitate curve matching and to collaborate on understanding aquifer tests at different scales using different methods. The approaches used in this exercise can be extended to develop models to compare single and multiple aquifer tests using different approaches.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Peer review of individual work on creating interactive tools. Work as a group to write a collaborative report to evaluate aquifer tests at different scales using different methods.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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