Groundwater Lab: online version
This is a version of the Groundwater Lab (https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/intro/activities/23416.html) previously shared as part of the Teaching Introductory Geology collection. It uses an online (https://pvw.kitware.com/sandtank/) version of an "ant farm" groundwater model to demonstrate groundwater flow and the behavior of wells. The lab is organized so that students have to predict the behavior of the model before observing it.
Introductory physical geology, introductory earth systems science, interdisciplinary upper level general education courses dealing with water issues.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Ideally, students should have read the textbook discussion of groundwater.
How the activity is situated in the course
One out of eleven independent lab projects. Although it works best when it coincides with discussion of groundwater in lecture, it also can work when lab and lecture get out of sync.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Groundwater flow, behavior of wells when pumped, groundwater contamination.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Critical evaluation of preconceived notions, comparing results of tests with hypotheses.
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
Students use a virtual version of an analog model to explore the behavior of groundwater, using a virtual dye tracer. They explore the effects of pumping wells and observe the behavior of an artesian aquifer.
Student handout for Online Groundwater Lab (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 4.1MB Mar30 20)
Teaching Notes and Tips
This lab uses a new online groundwater model https://pvw.kitware.com/sandtank/. Students need access to the Internet in order to complete this lab. Some parts of the online model aren't functional yet (the leaky landfill, in particular).
Answers are graded based on whether they 1) are consistent with students' observations, 2) whether they make sense, and 3) whether the broader concepts are explained correctly.
References and Resources
https://pvw.kitware.com/sandtank/ Online groundwater model, developed by a multi-institutional group and funded by NSF.
https://www.hydroframe.org/sand-tank-user-manual User manual for the sandtank model.
https://vimeo.com/398697315 Video explaining the basics of the online model, and how they relate to the physical model.