More Water: An Edible Aquifer

At our Thursday afternoon Summer Reading Program session, we made a simple model of an aquifer. And then we ate it!

We filled the bottom of a clear cup with chocolate chips to represent the Earth's rocks above the impermeable bedrock. Then we added a thick layer of vanilla ice cream to represent a confining layer, a layer through which liquid can pass, but with difficulty. Crushed vanilla wafers represented sand, crushed oreos dirt, and green sprinkles topsoil, and the part of the earth we can see. Then we added (sparkling) water to fill our aquifer. We watched as it passed through the cookie layer quickly, the ice cream layer more slowly, and then settle to the bottom of the cup, filling in the small spaces between the chocolate chip "rocks".
We inserted a straw into the cup and through all the layers to represent a well pipe. We brought the water in the aquifer up by taking a sip, illustrating how people draw up the water in their wells. Then we recharged our aquifers by adding more water, representing rain and other forms of precipitation. Again, we watched the water travel through the layers. 

Then we added a pollutant to the top layer, in the form of blue food coloring. We watched it settle into the topsoil layer. When we added more water to the aquifer, the blue began to permeate the other layers and finally, it met the water at the bottom. 
As we ate our aquifer, we talked about how easy it was to "pollute" our model. We wondered if it was as easy to pollute the groundwater in an actual aquifer, and how that could happen. We decided it must be difficult (and expensive!) to remove pollutants from an aquifer, but it's so easy to not pollute the ground or surface water in the first place.


Mary R V said...

This is SO great! How I miss the extensions of elementary curriculum. There is no time for any of that, with all the testing, assessing and keeping to the "program". Story of my life - my roots are in the "extra-curricular".

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