The following lesson includes recommendations for adding an additional layer of difficulty for more advanced classes.
Objective: Learn about New Jersey’s water supply and why water conservation is important.
Materials: two empty plastic cups; one cup each of rocks, gravel, and sand; tap water; Water Wisdom Student Worksheet 3
Time required: 40 minutes
1. Place two clear plastic cups on a table at the front of the class. Ask students to create three layers of sediment in one of the cups: rocks (bottom), gravel (middle), sand (top). The cup should be filled 2/3 of the way. Fill the other cup with tap water.
2. Pour the tap water (slowly) into the sediment-filled cup. Ask students to write down their observations: Does the water flow more quickly through certain layers? Can you see the water in between the rocks, gravel, or sand? (Advanced classes: Separate students into teams for this activity. Have each team make a hypothesis before starting.)
Using the Student Worksheet:
3. Write the word aquifer on the board and explain that an aquifer is nature’s way of storing water underground. When rainwater seeps into the ground, it squeezes through layers of earth until it is stopped by a layer of porous rock (rock with pores or holes) or sediment (sand or gravel) and collects into an underground reservoir.
4. Ask: What is a drought? (A water shortage) Have you ever had to reduce the amount of water that you use due to shortages? Moderate a classroom conversation about recent water restrictions in New Jersey. (Advanced classes: Conduct an online search for more information about your local aquifer.)
5. Separate students into groups and distribute Water Wisdom Student Worksheet 3. Read the worksheet together.
6. Ask: Do you think New Jersey is running out of water? Explain that the number of people living in New Jersey has outgrown what the local aquifers can support. In addition, saltwater and pollution have damaged the water supply and reduced the amount of drinkable water.
7. Encourage students to get the word out about the importance of conservation! Provide class time for groups to complete the worksheet and implement their plans.
8. Use what your students have learned to build a model water system! Follow the Build a Model Water System instructions within this program.
Photos: water © Shutterstock