Investigating Aquifers

Water ecoSTEM Kit Materials Used: Awesome Aquifers Kit and Bioplastic Cups

ENGAGE - Students Observe This Phenomenon


GATHER Energy Investigations


graphic organizer summarizing learning process for this activity

EXPLORE a Kit-Supported Learning Experience

Teams of 4 students will use the Awesome Aquifer kit and its related Science Olympiad event guide to create working models of groundwater and its interactions with the surface, using the bioplastic cups provided. (Bring your own soil and gravel, food coloring or powdered drink mix, old pumps from soap dispensers, clay, and other items.)


Students may use the large aquifer model kit (included) to demonstrate and explain an aquifer in a 1:1 session with the teacher. A hand soap pump can be used for a well.


The class may participate in a groundwater case study known as A Grave Mistake. Alternatively, students may research the Oglala Aquifer and claims by protesters that an oil pipeline in the area presented an unacceptable risk, and make a claim backed by evidence and reasoning.


Students may create an edible aquifer model; use it to explain water table and saturation zone; and show how contamination happens. (Bioplastic cups included; BYO clear soda, sorbet, paper straws, food coloring, toppings)



After making sense of a core idea by engaging in science or engineering practices through the lens of crosscutting concepts, students revise their original explanations of a phenomenon.


Students may propose solutions and choose a project to do, such as designing and installing a rain garden to filter runoff water.