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Watery Planet    Mystery 2

Mystery 2 image

In this Mystery, students construct an explanation about a surprising phenomenon: the existence of underground water. Then they play a game in which they must obtain and combine information about groundwater in order to select the best site to build a town.

When you turn on the faucet, where does the water come from?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 8)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 8)

DISCUSS:

How is it possible that there’s water in this hole? How did water get underground?

Optional: Draw your idea on a piece of scrap paper.

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Beginning Exploration (3 of 8)
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Beginning Exploration (4 of 8)

DISCUSS (1 of 2): Where do you think people get their water if they don’t live near lakes or rivers?

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Beginning Exploration (5 of 8)

DISCUSS (2 of 2):

How do people get water from far underground?

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Beginning Activity Prep
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Wanted: A Well

If you have a large group, students will work in groups of four.

If there are just a few students, they can form a smaller group. A solo student can do the activity alone, but we think it’s more fun with friends.

For each group or student working alone, print one set of the Mapmaker's Map (4 pages) , one set of Plant and Soil Clues , and one copy of Wanted: A Well worksheet.

Since there’s so little prep for the main activity in this Mystery, we suggest you consider making Aquifer Stations, as described in the Extras section. These will give students a chance to experiment and observe how water is stored underground.

Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Activity: Wanted: A Well
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Beginning Exploration (6 of 8)
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Beginning Exploration (7 of 8)

DISCUSS:

Where did you decide to dig? Why did you decide to dig in that spot? What clues did you use?

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Beginning Exploration (8 of 8)
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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading and extension activity in the optional extras.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity and exploration you just completed.
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Activity: Aquifer Station

This model aquifer made of aquarium gravel in a plastic shoebox gives your students an opportunity to:

  • dig a pond,
  • drill a well,
  • and pump water from their well using a soap dispenser.

Follow these simple instructions for setting up an Aquifer Station. The last page of this printout provides instructions for student experimentation.

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Videos

  • Learn more about water underground and the unseen aquifers under your feet in a colorful animated video from KQED Quest. This link also connects to free extension activities, discussion questions, and links —all aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.

  • See how wells are drilled, tour a giant water tower, and learn about groundwater from a hydrogeologist in this video from Into the Outdoors, a website for students and teachers focusing on the natural world.

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Readings

  • In California, farmers pump water out of the aquifer to irrigate thirsty crops. Some scientists think that using so much groundwater may be making mountains grow taller and causing small earthquakes. Read all about it in an article from Newsela (Registration is free and you can choose the reading level.)

  • American Groundwater Trust provides a short reading about how groundwater pollution changed the life of our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. (This one is for advanced readers.)

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Read & Discuss: Dowsing

For thousands of years, people have used forked sticks to “feel” for water under the ground. This is called dowsing, or sometimes water witching.

Click here to read about dowsing. Then discuss these questions with your class:

  • Could dowsing for water really work? Why do you think that?

  • Can you think of a test or experiment that would prove dowsing works? Or an experiment that would prove it doesn't work?

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Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

Other
All Activity Illustrations by Alex Kalomeris
schoolboy with backpack by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Andrey Popov
house sold by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: rSnapshotPhotos
groundwater well by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: jprom
settlers wagaon by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Julia von Siebenthal
video of man digging in deep hole by Alan Madison Video
village pond by Colin Smith
privately maintained flower bed by Chona68 , used under Public Domain
puppy digging in sand by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: hurricanehank
puppy playing on the beach digging sand by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: hurricanehank
water lillies by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Mirko Graul
small fountain in pond by Psuedopanax , used under Public Domain
video of boy playing and digging in sand by Aunt Heather Piper
boy lawnmowing by Mount Pleasant Granary , used under Public Domain
boy rowing boat on lake by Andrew Montgomery
spacious backyard area by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Artazum
digging into dirt by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: tostphoto
excavator by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: JGA
watering lawn by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: gornostay
rain drops falling off umbrella by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Brian A Jackson
deep well in the dessert by aatifz
running faucet by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: ILYA AKINSHIN
a well for driking water by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: ThomBal
boy collects water from well by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Chipmunk131
boy carrying buckets of water from well by Image used under license from alamy.com: Sean Sprague
girl and boy collecting water from well by Image used under license from alamy.com: Sean Sprague
women collecting water from well by Image used under license from alamy.com: Robert Fried
house sold by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: rSnapshotPhotos