Groundwater education materials available for science teachers

Contact Kevin Masarik, 715-346-4276, kmasarik@uwsp.edu

Groundwater professionals from the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are teaming up to offer groundwater workshops for Wisconsin educators.

Groundwater is one of Wisconsin’s most precious natural resources. Managing the critical issues of groundwater quality and quantity require an understanding of a buried underground resource that is too often surrounded in mystery and myth.

One of the best tools to educate all ages about groundwater is the sand-tank groundwater model that has been described as a “gold mine” for groundwater education and a great addition to any science curriculum.

Teachers interested in expanding or improving their science education program have an opportunity to receive a free sand-tank groundwater model for their school. The model is a plexiglass tank filled with sand that enables students to see groundwater, also known as “Wisconsin’s buried treasure.”

“Many teachers who would like models for their classrooms simply don’t have the resources to buy one, so we’ve been giving away a limited number of models each year to get them into Wisconsin schools,” says Kevin Masarik, groundwater specialist with University of Wisconsin-Extension. “It is important that students understand what groundwater is since nearly 70 percent of all Wisconsin residents rely on this valuable resource for their basic water needs.”

In addition to receiving the models, teachers will attend a free workshop where educators will receive instruction on how to use the model, as well as learning about geology and other important issues that affect groundwater in our state.

“The positive comments and evaluations from past participants is the reason we have continued to offer the workshops for the past 15 years,” says Laura Chern of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “The groundwater models are without a doubt the best visual aid available to teach about a resource that you can’t normally see.”

Educators that apply and are selected for this opportunity will have the choice of attending one of the three one-day workshops being held in Mt. Horeb, Ashland, or Sheboygan. Applications for these workshops are due by November 1, 2013.

The workshops are a partnership between the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, UW-Extension, UW-Stevens Point and the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey.

For an application or to learn more, visit: http://dnr.wi.gov/education/educatorresources/groundwater/

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