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Awesome Aquifer 360

The Ultimate Groundwater Tool

Groundwater is important to everyone. About 45 percent of the US population depends on groundwater for its drinking water. We currently face a 135,000 persons shortfall in the geoscience profession, which will directly impact our access to groundwater. Now more than ever before, it is essential we inspire the next generation of geoscience professionals to fill this gap in the workforce. 


However, processes and concepts related to groundwater are difficult to visualize, as we cannot touch, feel or experience things happening beneath the surface. Through the National Groundwater Association, the Groundwater Foundation provides the Awesome Aquifer kits that model groundwater systems on a small scale. Students can visualize and interact with abstract groundwater concepts. Now, the Groundwater Foundation has partnered with Oklahoma State University to turn their ultimate tool for groundwater demonstrations into a digital model. K-12 students across the nation can now access this fun and interactive model, entirely online. This virtual opportunity is called Awesome Aquifer 360.


The lessons for Awesome Aquifer 360 currently in production are listed below. Everything a teacher may need to teach these important groundwater concepts are provided with access to the digital kit. Additionally, every lesson is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) so teachers meet curriculum expectations in their classrooms. 


Awesome Aquifer 360 Lessons

Groundwater and Surface Water

Is groundwater and surface water connected? Address concepts such as water table, confined vs unconfined aquifers, groundwater recharge, runoff and infiltration. 

Pumping the Supply

Is groundwater a renewable resource? Students install a working pump to explore concepts such as well withdrawal, drawdown, groundwater depletion, over drafting and the parts of a groundwater well. 

Discover Porosity

Which holds more water, sand or gravel? The two porous medias are utilized to discover the effects of high porosity, and what characteristics of rock lithologies make it easier for groundwater storage. 

Explore Permeability

Does water flow at different speeds? Students further explore groundwater flow by calculating the flow rate of water though different materials. Permeability, porosity, and concepts such as confining units and impermeable rocks are discussed. 

Contamination Clues

How does groundwater become polluted? An important part of understanding how our environment becomes contaminated is demonstrated in this lesson. Students explore monitoring wells and discover types of contamination and where drinking water comes from. 

Clean It Up

Can contaminated water be cleaned? Explore different types of contaminants, and ways environmental geologists remediate contaminated areas. Students also discover how water is treated and where drinking water comes from. 


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