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Groundwater Workshops for Educators - 2018



About the workshops

Help your students visualize the movement of groundwater, effects of pumping and migration of pollutants through underground materials.  At this 1-day workshop for educators you will receive:

  • A free sand-tank model (valued at over $700), plus training on how to use and care for the model
  • Educational materials including lesson plans, maps and other supplies for expanding your earth science curriculum.
  • Plus, schools are eligible for reimbursement to cover substitute teacher costs

Workshop dates and locations

Only those educators that complete and application and are selected will be eligible to attend.  Workshops run from 9:00am until 4:00pm.  Space is limited to 10 pairs of educators per location. Plan to spend the entire day.

  • January 17: Boerner Botanical Gardens, 9400 Boerner Dr., Hales Corners, WI 53130

  • February 14: Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Rd K, Fall Creek, WI 54742

Eligibility requirements

Two educators from your organization must jointly complete the application form and submit it by November 7, 2017.  We will review the forms and notify top candidates by early December 2017.  The online application can be accessed here: APPLY NOW!

What's required of participants?

In exchange for the free sand tank model, workshop and reimbursement, we require applicants to complete the following activities:

  • Attend a 1-day training session on using the model.
  • Incorporate the model into your classroom curriculum or nature center programs.
  • Involve parents in at least one take home activity.
  • Complete an online survey by May 31, 2018.

Selection criteria

Staff from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin-Extension will evaluate applications based on the following criteria:

  • Schools or nature centers with an existing or planned curriculum related to groundwater.
  • Plans to use the model outside of the classroom involving the families of students.
  • The number of people/students, types of classes and grade levels involved.
  • Preference will be given to schools that have not previously received a model through this workshop.

Who conducts the workshops?

Faculty and staff from the UW-Stevens Point Center for Watershed Science and Education and the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey conduct the trainings with assistance from WDNR Drinking Water and Groundwater staff.

Why are the workshops being offered?

The DNR is committed to protecting Wisconsin's valuable groundwater and has contracted with UW-Extension to conduct the workshops. The goal of the workshops is to educate teachers, students, parents and communities to make informed decisions about their drinking water supply. 

Why teach about groundwater?

About 70% of Wisconsin residents get their drinking water from groundwater. However, this buried treasure is vulnerable to pollution from many sources. In some areas of Wisconsin, the amount of groundwater available for drinking has become limited. Teaching students about protecting groundwater can lead to cleaner, more abundant drinking water for future generations.

What past participants say about the workshops

"When I left the workshop not only did I have ready-to-use lessons, which is priceless to a teacher, I also had a model that solidified the concept of groundwater flow and contamination in my student's minds." 

"The groundwater model is a necessity in my environmental science classroom."

"Exceptional experience at the workshop. Very good resources/handouts. The model is a gold mine."

Questions about the workshops can be directed to Kevin Masarik.


We recently evaluated the effectiveness of the groundwater models and the workshops that have been conducted over the past 10 years. Click here to view the Executive Summary

Workshop Resources:

  • Groundwater Basics - Presentation on basic groundwater concepts and introductory material. 
  • Groundwater Introduction - This presentation contains additional slides that can be used to provide a brief Introduction into groundwater basics
  • WI Geology and Aquifers - Slides of Wisconsin geology and properties of our major aquifers  
  • It'll Go with the Flow - Slides to be used with the water table mapping exercise found in the Groundwater Study Guide. 
  • Quantitative Exercise - Darcy's Law - Lesson for demonstrating how to calculate darcy's law using the sand-tank groundwater flow model.
  • Groundwater Model Worksheet - Step-by-step instructions for conveying the basic concepts of groundwater using the sand-tank groundwater model.
  • Groundwater Figures - Annotated figures from the publication "Ground Water and Surface Water: A single resource" USGS Circular 1139. 

Groundwater related video links

Aquifer penetration using Groundwater Model - YouTube

Groundwater Model Demo with Captions - YouTube

Testing Well Water for Microorganisms - WRI video link 

A New Measure of Groundwater Flow - WRI video link

Little Plover River Pump Test - YouTube

Other Groundwater Resources

Wisconsin Groundwater Study Guide - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey - Your one stop shop for information on the geology of Wisconsin. Order maps, rocks and find other great information by visiting their website. 

What's Wrong With My Water?  - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

WI Well Water Quality Viewer - Search for well water quality information in your community using this interactive mapping viewer. 

Ordering Groundwater Model Parts and Supplies

UWSP Groundwater Model Project - for ordering extra parts or model repair

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