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Adaptation Of Groundwater Physical Models And Activities

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.147.1 - 13.147.10



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Paper Authors

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Amy Chan Hilton Florida State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Adaptation of Groundwater Physical Models and Activities for Enhanced Student Learning


Studies have shown that using a variety of teaching techniques to address the spectrum of learning styles enhances student learning. The goal of this project is to improve student interest and learning of groundwater topics relevant to environmental engineering. Specifically, the objectives are to: 1) adapt physical models and classroom demonstrations and real-world activities to provide students hands-on learning of groundwater concepts; and 2) incorporate and implement these physical models and activities in the Introduction to Environmental Engineering and Laboratory courses. The target audience of this project is sophomore- and junior-level undergraduate students enrolled in Introduction to Environmental Engineering and Laboratory, which both are required courses. Minorities and women comprise approximately 50% of the students in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at this institution. Thus students from underrepresented groups will be directly affected and involved in all aspects of this project.

This paper presents a summary of the physical models and real-world activities developed and implemented in the courses. The models and activities are adapted from material produced by Project WET and EPA, while the implementation into courses is based on the ASCE ExCEEd teaching model. Both undergraduate and graduate students were involved in the development, testing, and implementation of these activities. The focus of this project is enhancing student learning of groundwater topics, including basic groundwater definitions, groundwater flow and Darcy’s law, well hydraulics, and contaminant fate and transport. Results of this project, including a summary of the activities developed and assessment of student learning will be presented.

Background and Motivation

Current trends show that a growing need exists for highly trained civil and environmental engineers. However, students often cite poor teaching as a reason for leaving engineering majors.6 Moreover, most teaching does not stimulate intellectual excitement because it is passive and does not place material into real-world contexts. Thus a need exists to enhance student learning through the use of effective teaching techniques that include hands-on and real- world activities that are thoughtfully integrated into courses.

At the ___ College of Engineering, minorities and women comprise approximately 50% of the students in the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) department. Thus students from underrepresented groups will be directly affected and involved in all aspects of this project. This project addresses the need for more underrepresented minorities succeeding in civil and environmental engineering. For example, according to the 2000 U.S. Census Bureau, only 9.5% of civil engineers are women. Less than 20% engineering students are female engineering, and large numbers of women who initially choose engineering change majors before earning a degree.1

Chan Hilton, A. (2008, June), Adaptation Of Groundwater Physical Models And Activities Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3909

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