Lesson Plan

Sand Filters

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Grade Level:
First Grade-Fifth Grade
Subject:
Earth Science, Geology, Hydrology, Physical Science
Duration:
15 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36 (6-12 breakout groups)
Setting:
indoors or outdoors
National/State Standards:
Colorado Science: 1st grade 1.1; 3rd grade 3.1; 5th grade 1.1, 3.1

Overview

Students will see the importance of sand in water filtration and understand how aquifers are recharged.

Objective(s)

Students will see the importance of sand in water filtration and understand how aquifers are recharged.

Background

In the San Luis Valley, there are two main types of aquifers-confined and unconfined. The confined aquifer is a deep aquifer which is trapped below layers of non-porous material such as clay, locally known as the Blue Clay Layer. The unconfined aquifer sits above these non-porous layers. In areas where the Blue Clay Layer is not found, such as at the Great Sand Dunes and along the mountain fronts, water seeps directly into the confined aquifer. These locations are known as aquifer recharge zones.Aquifers

As water seeps through sand and rocks on its way to the aquifer, it is filtered and made pure. Many human-created water filtration systems are based on the same principles that we see when water flows vertically into an aquifer.

Explore Great Sand Dunes' web page on hydrology to learn more about the unique natural hydrological system of the dunes.

Materials

Plastic two-liter bottle (cut the bottom off), charcoal, fine sand, coarse sand, string, small piece of screen, glass jar, muddy or dirty water in a jar, sand sifter (optional)

Procedure

Extensions

Spread a layer of clay into your filtration system to demonstrate how clay acts as a non-porous boundary between aquifers.

Vocabulary

capillary action, confined aquifer