Edible aquifers are a fun and easy way to understand the geology of an aquifer. Your edible aquifer will help you learn about confining layers, contamination, groundwater recharge and water tables!
Here is what you will need to make your edible aquifer:
• Clear plastic cups
• Ice cream scoop
• Drinking straws
• Blue/red food coloring
• Vanilla ice cream or fruity sorbet
• Clear soda pop
• Small gummy bears, chocolate chips, crushed cookies, breakfast cereal, or crushed ice
• Variety of colored cake decoration sprinkles and sugars
1. Begin to make your edible aquifer by filling the clear plastic cup 1/3 full with gummy bears,
chocolate chips, or crushed ice (This represents sand and gravel).
2. Add enough soda (this represents the water) to just cover the candy/ice.
3. Add a layer of ice cream to make a “confining layer” over the water-filled aquifer.
4. Then add more “sand/gravel” on top of the confining layer.
5. Colored sugars and sprinkles will represent soils and should be sprinkled over the top to create the
porous top layer.
6. Now add the food coloring to the soda. The food coloring represents contamination. Pour the colored soda over the top of the aquifer.
7. Watch what happens when it is poured on the top of the aquifer. This is what happens when contaminants are spilled on the earth’s surface.
8. Using a drinking straw, drill a well into the center of your aquifer by poking the straw through the aquifer.
9. Slowly begin to pump the well by sucking on the straw. Watch the water go down in the water table.
10. Notice how the contaminants can get sucked into the well area and end up in the groundwater by
leaking through the confining layer.
11. Now recharge your aquifer by adding more soda which represents a rain shower.
12. Review what you have learned as you enjoy eating your edible aquifer.
Here is a video that shows you step by step how to make your edible aquifer!
If you would like more hands on activities that can help you learn about groundwater, visit the Students and Educator's page on The Groundwater Foundation website!