Groundwater Model: Where Does Our Water Come From?
by Cornell Cooperative Extension, Broome County, NY
Trash Goes To School
Cornell Waste Management Institute
SUBJECT AREAS: science, ecology
CONCEPT: All water is interconnected.
OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate where groundwater is located and how we get it to the surface. To visualize the movement of polluted groundwater through the earth.
- 1 clear plastic tumbler
- 8" piece of plastic tubing
- disposable plastic syringe
- beach sand
- coffee filter
- pebbles
- 1/2" square piece of cloth
- red food coloring
- spray bottle
KEYWORDS: groundwater, leach
1. Fasten piece of cloth over one end of plastic tubing with tape or a rubber band -- this acts as a filter.
2. Place covered end of plastic tubing against the bottom of the cup and tape to the side of the cup.
3. Place pebbles or large gravel in the bottom third of the cup (this represents bedrock).
4. Cover gravel with filter paper cut from a coffee filter.
5. Fill rest of cup (1" from the top) with white or light colored sand -- this represents soil layers.
6. With a spray bottle, rain on the sand until water visibly filters into the gravel.
7. Place syringe in open end of plastic tube and draw the plunger out. As water fills the syringe, your model is working. The syringe represents a pump. The ground water model is complete.
Place food coloring on the ground surface (sand) -- this represents contamination. Rain on the soil. Again, try to pull the colored water out, repeat raining and pumping the water.
NOTE: It is extremely difficult to leach some contaminants out of soil. Some chemicals will leach readily, while others will not.
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