Groundwater Simulation Kits

Grant Applicant
Jody Burrill
School Site
Truckee High School
Grant Category
Career Technical Education (CTE)
Grant Date
Description (10 points)

Excellence in Ed grant application Spring 2019

Groundwater Simulation


The Groundwater Simulation System demonstrates the impact of environmental factors on groundwater resources. The Groundwater Simulation System is a model of the groundwater with aquifers, wells, lakes, pumps, septic and more.  The system is like an Ant Farm Simulator but for groundwater. Students add food coloring, to represent point source contamination. Then students draw water from a pump and see the contaminant spread throughout the groundwater. Other concepts include: porosity and permeability, rate of groundwater flow, characteristics of aquifers, formation of a cone of depression, well contamination, surface leaching of pollutants, and more. Students add dye to show groundwater flow lines, the effects of pumping wells, and the impact of groundwater contamination on freshwater supplies.


At a previous school, I was honored a grant for a class set of  this product which I used in Environmental Science. The groundwater simulation is easy to work with, easy to care for and easy to store.  They are Length: 30", Width: 1½", Height: 15" and nest into cabinets.  They store dry, so there is not an issue with mold or any such potential for damaging of the product.


Currently, I teach Honors Principles of Engineering at Truckee High School and intend to use the groundwater simulation in conjunction with the Civil Engineering Unit where we learn about water and sewage facilities.  We also study hydraulics in engineering and the pumps on the groundwater simulation will provide a fantastic real world application and visual for the students. The course includes environmental concerns and this product clearly fits into our curriculum.  


 AP Environmental Science and Honors Principles of Engineering can share this product.  The engineering students can share with elementary students on a STEAM fair and they can showcase the groundwater simulations on the CTE/ STEAM showcase days that are now occuring at Truckee High School twice a year.


Each kit costs $879.99 which includes: a clear acrylic tank and stand, two plastic recharge bottles with stoppers, four types of sand and gravel, funnel dispenser for tank setup, two 60 cc syringes for dye injection and well pumping, water soluble dye, and all the necessary fittings for system water flow and drainage. Its also includes a user’s guide with operating instructions, suggested activities, and background information. I am requesting a class set of six units for a total of $5,629.05 including shipping.  Item # 470164-822 through Wards.

Benefits of Program (10 points)

The groundwater simulation kits are visual representations of how groundwater moves as we pump the water.  When we "contaminate" the ground water from the surface or deep with in a well and students pump the ground water, they can clearly watch the flow of the contamination.  As groundwater concerns rise in California, I feel the groundwater simulators will be an asset to the Civil Engineering unit in Principles of Engineering.  They are easy to store and care for and they are low cost once purchased, they only require water and food coloring.  

The engineering students will be able to set up the simulators at STEAM fairs as a way to outreach to those in attendance.  I have used these kits at other schools and they are an amazing visual of underground flow of water.  

Success of Program (10 points)

Success will be defined by students understanding of the flow of water and contamination in a groundwater system. Students will understand the importance of geology and groundwater.  The impermeable layers are important for holding aquifers and the students will see that one system can be depleted and may not be easily replenished. They will measure the flow rate of contamination and how it is affected by the rate water is pumped out of the system and by replacement of groundwater from the surface.  In the end, my goal is that students will have an increased understanding of the seriousness of groundwater concerns in California and increase motivation in the fields of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  

Implementation (10 points)

The use of the groundwater simulation kits will be implemented in the Civil Engineering unit within the Principles of Engineering class.  This occurs in the second term of the course.  Currently, the civil engineering unit touches on resources but there is no dynamic way to discuss water concerns.  The Groundwater simulations will bring this discussion to life.  I have used them at another school and they are very impressive.  I will utilize them immediately in the Civil Engineering unit.  

Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

Absolutely.  The Groundwater simulation kits can be shared with Environmental Science students.  In addition, they are easily transported to be shared at a STEAM fair, back to school night.  I am happy to share the kits with SWEP so they can show elementary students when the high school SWEP Green Team visits the elementary students.  

The resupply needed for the Groundwater Simulation Kits is water and food coloring, easily supplied within our yearly budget. They are easy to clean and store.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
$5280 - Groundwater Simulation Kits (all supplies included) 879.99 EACH request 6