Geo Sandbox Water Budget
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered:
How the activity is situated in the course:
National or State Education Standards addressed by this activity?:
Content/concepts goals for this activity:
- Matter is made of particles; this includes soil and water.
- Matter is conserved. In other words, matter, and the particles that make it up, can neither be created nor destroyed.
- For convenience, measurements of volume rather than mass are often used by Earth scientists to monitor quantities of water in natural systems. (For this unit, we will ignore volume changes that occur due to changes in temperature.)
- Volumes of water added to a system or removed from a system are calculated by measuring and multiplying the length, width, and depth of water (volume = length x width x depth). A rain gauge provides a measure of depth (of precipitation that falls into the rain gauge), but the length and width of an area must also be measured. In a lake or reservoir, the volume of water can be calculated by the width and length of the water body multiplied by its average depth.
- In a soil and water system, where soil particles are assumed to be fixed, measuring the volume of water added to a system and the volume of water that leaves a system provides a way to estimate the volume of water that remains within a system.
- While water particles are most commonly added to a soil-water system via rain, they can be removed via evaporation, uptake by plants, surface runoff, and subsurface runoff. Water particles can also be stored in the system.
- Humans can alter evaporation, uptake by plants, surface runoff, and subsurface runoff through land use patterns (paving surfaces, re-grading slopes, or changing vegetation cover, for instance).
- Water naturally drains downhill (from a higher elevation to a lower elevation) due to gravity.
- A watershed is a region from which water drains to a common location.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity:
Other skills goals for this activity:
Description of the activity/assignment
Determining whether students have met the goals
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment:Overview: Geo Sandbox Water Budget (Acrobat (PDF) 63kB Nov25 15)
- Instructors Notes:Teacher Notes: Geo Sandbox Water Budget (Acrobat (PDF) 52.4MB Nov25 15)
- Solution Set:
Other Activities in this Series: