Middle School – Groundwater

The Wonder Down Under


Prepare to learn all about the water beneath our feet with this exciting lesson. Students watch videos and are encouraged to experiment along with Mrs. Wilkins to understand the properties of aquifers. They will also run a simulator to see exactly why permeability and porosity are important. Now that they know so much, they will fill out a crossword puzzle using the groundwater vocabulary. Then they will make and share a short video demonstrating their choice of vocabulary terms.

View the standards

Middle School Students participating in an outdoor groundwater activity

To complete the Zone 7 lesson be sure to do all of the following:

  1. Watch the first video embedded below, be sure to experiment along with the presentation.

  2. Explore permeability with this amazing simulator.

  3. Make a copy of the Groundwater Simulator Worksheet. Answer the questions based on your simulator results. When you are finished click the “share” button in the right hand corner of the page to send the worksheet to your teacher.

  4. Watch the second video embedded below.

  5. Complete the crossword puzzle right on this page. When you are done, take a screen shot and share it with your teacher.

  6. Now teach us by making a quick video demonstrating and explaining some groundwater vocabulary. When you’re done, you know what to do, share it with your teacher.

Bonus Materials: Spend some time exploring some incredible websites: “High-Adventure Science, Exploring Groundwater Movement” and “Model My Watershed”


1. Rocks, Groundwater and Aquifers! (Oh My)

An introduction to ROCKS! And other stuff too. Grab a few rocks, a cup of water, and a sponge if you want to investigate with us. When you’re ready, watch the video below to get started.


2. Explore Permeability

Follow the directions below to watch the effect of different levels of permeability and porosity rates. The two pictures below show what your screen should resemble before you press play to make it rain, and two minutes after you pressed play.

First example image for the Explore Permeability activity

Second example image for the Explore Permeability activity


  1. Close “About: Water” screen.
  2. From the template drop down, choose “Compare permeabilities.”
  3. Add a non-flowback well to each section. Try to make the wells go to the same depth, nearly to the bottom. (Try to match the pictures above.)
  4. Set “Rain probability” to the fastest.
  5. Click “add water.”
  6. Press play and run for two minutes.

Activity built and licensed by the Concord Consortium.


4. Awesome Aquifer!

Watch this video to help define the groundwater vocabulary. Grab a clear container, some gravel, and some water to experiment along with us.


5. Crossword Puzzle

Crossword Puzzle Thumbnail Image

Complete the crossword puzzle with the vocabulary words in STEP 6 (Now Teach Us!). When you are done, take a screenshot and send it to your teacher.


6. Now Teach Us!

  • Aquifer
  • Percolation
  • Groundwater
  • Porous
  • Recharge
  • Permeable
  • Confined Aquifer
  • Well
  • Water Table
  • Surface Water
  • Saturated Zone

Pick a few words from the list above and make a short video demonstrating their meanings. Check out the example below. When you’re done don’t forget to share it with your teacher.


Bonus Materials

Exploring Groundwater Movement

Screenshot of the Interactive Groundwater Movement Activity

High-Adventure Science, Exploring Groundwater Movement. Spend some more time checking out groundwater with this simulation. You can use all the templates to see how different aquifers fill. Then build your own aquifer, drill wells and watch it rain!

Exploring Groundwater Movement

Model My Watershed

Screenshot of the Model My Watershed Activity

Check out this amazing resource that allows you to pick a location (even school districts) and find a huge amount of information about it. After you have enjoyed this Zone 7 Groundwater lesson and learned about saturation rates, you can look up the location you are in now and find out what the soil is like under your feet! (No shovel needed.)

Model My Watershed