A-mazing Aquifer

Theme:Water Protection
Location:Eagle's Nest (Inside Upper Level)
Map #:33
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At this activity center, there is a model of an aquifer, which is any soil through which groundwater moves easily. The model illustrates the subsurface (sand, gravel and bedrock aquifers and aquitards) and its relation to the surface water (lakes and rivers). A pump  can be used to change the amount of precipitation in the system. Water moves continuously through the model from higher to lower elevation (due to gravity). There are several wells to demonstrate the effect of pumping on an aquifer.

Ensure that students understand the key terms highlighted in the activity by using them in several different contexts throughout the presentation.

Key Messages

  • Groundwater does not run in underground rivers; it percolates through sand and gravel
  • Groundwater is a source of drinking water through wells
  • Pollutants on the ground or in lakes will enter groundwater and percolate through it, contaminating drinking water

Ontario Curriculum Connections

Science and Technology:
  • Understanding Life Systems, Grade 4 (Habitats and Communities)
    • analysis the positive and negative impacts of human interactions with natural habitats and communities, taking different perspectives into account, and evaluate ways of minimizing the negative impacts
  • Understanding Structures and Mechanisms, Grade 4 (Pulleys and Gears)
    • assess the environmental impact of using machines with pulley and gears, taking different perspectives into account and suggest ways to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive impacts
    • describe the purposes of pulley systems and gear systems
  • Understanding Life Systems, Grade 5 (Human Organ Systems)
    • assess the effects of social and environmental factors on human health, and propose ways in which individuals can reduce the harmful effects of these factors and take advantage of those that are beneficial
    • evaluate the effects, both beneficial and harmful, of various technologies on human perspectives into account
  • Understanding Earth and Space Systems, Grade 5 (Conservation of Energy and Resources)
    • analyses the long-term impacts on society and the environment of human uses of energy and natural resources, and suggest ways to reduce these impacts
    • evaluate the effects of various technologies on energy consumption, and propose ways in which individuals can improve energy conservation
    • identify renewable and non-renewable sources of energy
Social Studies:
  • People and Environments, Grade 4 (Political and Physical Regions of Canada)
    • assess aspects of the environmental impact of different industries in two or more physical and/or political regions of Canada
    • describe some key actions taken by both industries and citizens to address the need for more sustainable use of land and resources


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