Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {At Home Learning: You Be The Judge}

Water is an essential part of our everyday life. Water resource managers, city utility personnel, water well professionals, and more go to work every day to make sure we all maintain access to our clean water, even in uncertain circumstances.

Sometimes they are faced with hard decisions: Should water use be restricted? Should a certain amount of water be allocated to certain people or to everyone? In the following activity, you will be provided scenarios and you get to decide who should get the water. You be the judge!

Here's what you need:
  • Pitcher filled with water
  • Cups for each participant
  • Water use cards - you can copy or print the cards found in the activity instructions or make posters representing different water uses
  • Scissors 
  • Poster board (optional)
  • Markers (optional)  

Here's what you do:  
1. Fill a pitcher with water. Make sure there is a limited amount of water so that not all cups can be filled.

2. Give each participant a cup.

3. Pass around the pitcher so each participant can fill their cup. A full cup represents enough water for the participants to meet their water needs.

4. Sometimes there is not enough water available for everyone's needs - in times of drought for example. Ask the participants to express how they feel.

5. Ask what they could do to make sure they all get water.

6. Repeat steps 1-5, this time with water allocations. Choose one or combine both of the following options:
  • First in time, first in right. Have the participants arrange themselves in order by their birth date.   
  • Use the water use cards found in the activity instructions to determine how the water is distributed. Randomly pass out the cards. Participants can use the information on the cards to discuss and campaign for more water or why others should get more and some should get less.

7. Discuss the resultsother ways the water could be allocated, and what the participants learned about water use
  • Those with more important uses get more. Who decides what's more important?
  • Equal shares: everyone gets some, but some will get less than what they need.
  • Apply water restrictions and use water conservation practices to reduce the amount needed/used.
Share what you learned with the Groundwater Foundation!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Frannie's Top 5 - Educational Activities at Home!}

Hello friends!

Frannie knows that the world is changing really fast right now and some of you may be out of school for one, two, maybe even eight weeks. But just because you're not at school doesn't mean that your groundwater education has to stop!

These are Frannie's top 5 educational tools and activities to help you continue to explore the wonderful world of groundwater.

5) Hydro-Van-Gogh

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a little droplet of water making your way through the water cycle? What would you see? How would it feel? Explore these questions and more by painting your way through the ground, surface, and sky in a fun activity that combines art with science.

4) Growing with Groundwater

Groundwater is the water that helps grow our food and flowers. See how plants are a part of the water cycle by building a mini-terrarium. Simply plant a few flower seeds in a clear container, water it, seal it tightly, leave it in sunshine, and there you go! A water cycle in a jar!

3) 30by30 Mobile App

Did you know that the average American uses over 100 gallons of water each day? Find out how much you're using by marking how many times you fill your water glass, how long you take a shower, how many vegetables you wash, and much more. Challenge yourself to reduce your use by 30 gallons over the next month (just don't skimp on washing your hands!)

2) Hydrogeology Challenge

This one is a bit challenging (hence the name!) and you should know how to calculate slope using the y=mx+b formula. This online modeling tool walks you through how to use well information to calculate the direction and speed that groundwater is flowing. Real groundwater scientists use this information every day in order to figure out if a contaminant poses a threat to wells and communities downstream. Are you up for a bigger challenge? Email and receive a scenario in which you must use the information you calculated with the model to help a community protect its water source.

1) Awesome Aquifer Kit

This is Frannie's favorite activity. You might remember the blog series she did using the Awesome Aquifer Kit a while ago. The Awesome Aquifer Kit can be used to show so many important concepts about groundwater, including how it moves between the surface and subsurface, how people can get access to groundwater, and how contamination spreads. You can get 20% off your very own Awesome Aquifer Kit using code GWAW20 if you order by March 31.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Video Learning Series: Awesome Aquifer Kit Training Videos}

This is the fifth blog in a series of video learning opportunities from the Groundwater Foundation. Click to see the previous blogs on the Groundwater Foundation, how the Awesome Aquifer Kits are made, educator toolkits, and the Groundwater Guardian program.
Last week, Frannie shared the videos demonstrating some of the many educational resources that are offered as a part of the Groundwater Foundation's educator toolkits.

This week, Frannie is excited to share three brand new videos all about the activities included in the Awesome Aquifer Kit! The Awesome Aquifer Kit is one of the featured modeling tools included in the educator toolkits. The Awesome Aquifer Kit Guide includes a glossary of key groundwater terms and six activities, aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards, to demonstrate basic concepts of groundwater, how wells work, and the movement and treatment of contaminants within groundwater.

The new Awesome Aquifer Kit videos on the Groundwater Foundation's YouTube channel break down each activity step by step and provide tips on how to expand the lesson for more advanced students. Learn how the Awesome Aquifer Kits can help you "see" groundwater and consider getting your very own at!

Friday, February 28, 2020

BLOG: Groundwater Education that Works

by Jennifer Wemhoff, Groundwater Foundation

Groundwater can be a tricky subject to teach. After all, you can't go outside and look at groundwater the way you can a lake or river. It's hard to visualize something so abstract, let alone understand and appreciate it.

That challenge has driven the Groundwater Foundation for 35 years to find innovative, hands-on, brains-on ways to teach kids - and adults - about groundwater.

Over the past couple years, the Groundwater Foundation has implemented a wide-ranging project, Recharging Groundwater Education: Tools for Engagement and Action. Through the project's pilot in Nebraska, over 300 educators learned how to use various teaching tools in their classroom, including:

Both the Awesome Aquifer Kit and Hydrogeology Challenge enable students to investigate groundwater, a vital natural resource that plays a critical role in sustaining life but cannot be experienced directly. The tools also allow educators to point out issues specific to their local community (i.e. lithology from local well logs, existing contamination threats, etc.), which is an important feature to making the lessons pertinent to students' lives.

These tools have been used with great success in elementary, middle, and high schools across the state, and thanks to online training and resources, throughout the country and world. Educators told us: "I now feel prepared and motivated to teach about groundwater and its role in life and our role in protecting it to my students."

Some educators first utilized the groundwater education activities in the classroom, but then moved beyond into local action. "In-classroom learning went great, and it became a three-week unit including an onsite field trip based on the reported hydrogeology of the area. The students were engaged the majority of the time and were challenged to determine outcomes from the classroom learning."

The Awesome Aquifer Kit is a hands-on model-building kit that promotes cooperative learning through inquiry. Because groundwater is hidden in aquifers below the earth’s surface, the unique format of the Kit allows students to “see” groundwater and how it moves. As students build their aquifer model, they increase their environmental literacy and understanding of groundwater’s role in their lives. The versatility of the Awesome Aquifer Kit enables educators to challenge students of different grade levels with varying levels of complexity. 

A high school teacher who used the Kit in the classroom told us: "The activities are fun and easy to follow. They explained groundwater and how to translate it to the classroom."

The Hydrogeology Challenge is a data-driven computer-based groundwater simulation tool that challenges students to investigate groundwater flow, contemplate the difference between modeling and reality, and apply the calculations to identify solutions to real-life threats to groundwater. The Hydrogeology Challenge is a highly regarded teaching tool by educational and water industry professionals and can be adapted to many grade levels. An assistant professor in Geology and Geological Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology stated: “It is a great tool for introducing groundwater modeling.” And a student who used Hydrogeology said: “Hydrogeology is my favorite part of science and using it in conjunction with computer modeling is an interesting new way to study it.”  

Groundwater education is necessary to foster the next generation of groundwater industry professionals, managers, and stewards. Get started in your classroom or community: or get in touch at