Quantitative Skills > Teaching Resources > Activities > STELLA Systems Modeling

STELLA Systems Modeling

Jonathan Levy and Larry Mayer

Miami University Department of Geology


from www.usra.edu esselearnmod.html STELLA-based modeling can be used to teach about equilibrium versus kinetic reactions and thus allows one to examine the implications of nonequilibrium systems. In this exercise, students use STELLA to model an aquifer/ground-water-contaminant system. They conceptualize the sorption system, build a diagram to represent their conceptualization, and convert their diagram to a quantitative and executable model. The system is initially out of equilibrium and the students must run it to equilibrium. Throughout the process, students explore the system and discover connections among model parameters, initial conditions, and resulting changes in concentrations.

Learning Goals

Context for Use

This activity is appropriate for upper-level undergraduate and graduate-level hydrogeology and geochemistry courses.

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity can be adapted to model various chemical and biological reactions and systems in lower and upper-level undergraduate and gradtuate-level geoscience courses.

Teaching Materials

The following materials are required:


STELLA adds an active, demanding, and rewarding component to teaching and learning various Earth system concepts.

References and Resources

Levy, J. and Mayer, L., 1999, Systems Modeling of Nonequilibrium Chemical Reactions Using STELLA, Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 47, p. 413

Contact the Author

Please contact levyj@muohio.edu or mayerL@muohio.edu with questions or suggestions.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geochemistry:Geochemical Analysis, Reaction Kinetics/Rates, Geoscience:Geology:Geochemistry, Geoscience:Hydrology:Ground Water:Water supply/water resource evaluation, Groundwater modeling, Contaminant hydrology, Geoscience:Geology:Geochemistry:Phase Equilibria/Thermodynamics, Geoscience:Hydrology:Ground Water:Water quality/chemistry
Special Interest: Quantitative
Quantitative Skills: Graphs, Probability and Statistics, Models and Modeling, Differential Equations and Integrals, Problem Solving
Quantitative Skills Activity Type: Lab Activity
Topics: Hydrosphere/Cryosphere:Groundwater:Contaminant hydrology, Water quality/chemistry, Groundwater modeling, Water supply/water resource evaluation, Solid Earth:Geochemistry:Reaction Kinetics/Rates, Solid Earth:Geochemistry, Geochemistry:Phase Equilibria/Thermodynamics, Geochemical Analysis
Theme: Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Water, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Geochemistry, Hydrology/Hydrogeology

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