Published on January 16, 2014
Aquifer in a Cup x Objective: To illustrate how water is stored in an aquifer, how this water can become contaminated, and how this contamination ends up in a drinking water source.
Materials: • • • • • • • • • 1 clear plastic cup – for mode beaker of water 1 piece of modeling clay red food coloring gravel sand pipette cocoa spoon
Procedure: • Pour sand into the bottom of the cup until it is 1 cm deep and covers the bottom. (see D in diagram) • Pipette water onto the sand wetting it just enough that there is no standing water on the sand.
Procedure: • Flatten the modeling clay like a pancake and cover half of the sand with it. • Press the clay against the side of the cup to seal off that side. This represents the “confining layer” that keeps water from passing through. • Pipette 5 – 8 drops on the highest point of the clay. (Question 1) Make observations on your lab sheet. These need to be 3-4 sentences!
Procedure: • Use the rocks to form the next layer of earth. • Place the rocks over the sand and clay, covering the entire container. • To one side of your cup, slope the rocks, forming a high hill and a valley (see diagram). These layers represent some of the many layers contained in the earth's crust.
Procedure: • Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of the cocoa on the top of the hill. The cocoa represents lawn chemicals and fertilizers used by homeowners and farmers. • Now pour water into your aquifer until the water in the valley is slightly below the top of the hill, but at least covers the cocoa layer. Wait a minute, then record your observations answering Question 2. This need to be 3-4 sentences!
Procedure: • Use the food coloring and pipette a few drops on top of the rock hill as close to the inside wall of the cup as possible. The red food coloring represents chemicals, motor oil, and other trash that is put in landfills. • Wait about 1 minute, then record your observations answering Question 3. This need to be 3-4 sentences!
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