Groundwater Consulting Lab

Karen Kortz


Community College of Rhode Island

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Initial Publication Date: May 1, 2008 | Reviewed: October 19, 2012


Students are given a real-world scenario in this lab exercise in which they must determine the extent of groundwater contamination while staying within a budget. They progressively request more information and summarize their findings on a map.

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Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students must be able to determine the direction of the flow of groundwater based on a water table contour map.

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity is part of a lab on groundwater.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Predict movement of groundwater contaminants

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Analysis of data; formation and testing of hypothesis; synthesis of data

Other skills goals for this activity

Working in groups

Description of the activity/assignment

In groups, students are given a scenario of a leaking underground storage tank. They must decide where to sample on the map while staying within budget. Students progressively collect more data and use them to make an interpretation of the direction of groundwater flow and extent of the contamination. The activity requires that students use their limited resources to solve a real-world problem.

Determining whether students have met the goals

The final map on which students draw their interpretation of the direction and extent of the contamination is reviewed.

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