STELLA Systems Modeling
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.
- Use computer programs to allow students with minimal calculus skills to explore the nature and implications of Earth systems and their mathematical relationships.
- Test hypotheses and make predictions.
- Strengthen students mathematical skills.
- Gain a greater understanding of Earth systems and chemical equilibria.
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.
- STELLA II, a computer modeling application available in both Macintosh and IBM formats.
References and Resources
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Controlled Vocabulary Terms
Special Interest: Quantitative
Quantitative Skills: Graphs, Probability and Statistics, Models and Modeling, Differential Equations and Integrals, Problem Solving
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Geochemistry, Hydrology/Hydrogeology, Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Water
Quantitative Skills Activity Type: Lab Activity
Topics: Hydrosphere/Cryosphere:Groundwater:Groundwater modeling, Water quality/chemistry, Solid Earth:Geochemistry:Reaction Kinetics/Rates, Phase Equilibria/Thermodynamics, Geochemical Analysis, Solid Earth:Geochemistry, Hydrosphere/Cryosphere:Groundwater:Water supply/water resource evaluation, Contaminant hydrology