Watt Watchers of Texas: Texas is Too Good To Waste™

Activity: Locating Water Resources

Grade Level:

Activity Overview: Natural resources are not evenly distributed across the United States or even across the State of Texas. Looking at the horizon you can see if you are near the sea or surrounded by timber, but other resources crucial to our daily lives are less obvious. Each of the activities on this page references a different resource and provides resources your class can use to identify different sources of freshwater, fossil fuels, and renewable resources.

Time: This page contains a series of activities looking at different kinds of maps. Each activity can be run in succession. Each one takes between 15 minutes and 1 hour.

Activity 1: Taking Water Underground

Groundwater availability in the United States largely depends on aquifers, geologic formations which contain sufficient saturated permeable material to release water to wells and springs. Hydrologists generally group aquifers into aquifer systems, which can be classified based on their lithology, or the material which makes up the formation.

Take a look at the following slideshow of the different types of aquifers that can be found in the United States. You can project this slideshow map using the projector in your classroom, or ask students to access the student edition of Resourcefulness: An Introduction to the Energy Water Nexus. The slideshow appears on the Water>Availability lesson.

Ask students to answer the following questions:

  • What two types of aquifers are found underneath the state of Texas? [Carbonate/sandstone aquifers; Unconsolidated sand and gravel aquifers, non glacial]
  • Under which state can Western volcanic-rock aquifers be found? [Idaho]
  • Which type of aquifer is unique to Colorado? [Sandstone aquifer]
  • Which states have a very small percentages of groundwater per surface area? [Louisiana, Wyoming, Arkansas]

Activity 2: Texas's Aquifers

The Texas Water Development Board has completed a comprehensive map of the major aquifers under the state of Texas. This map is more detailed than the national map featured in the first activity. Does your class have a clear idea of what aquifer lies under your school?

Use digital map tools or an atlas to orient your class to the position of your town or school within the boundaries of the state of Texas. You can also use your projector to display a map of Texas from a source like Google Maps alongside the map of the Texas aquifer in order to more easily identify the aquifer that can be found under your school. If your school is over multiple aquifers or near the intersection of several major aquifers, make sure students identify all of them.

The Texas Water Development Board website contains links to more details about each of the major aquifers. After identifying aquifers with geographic proximity to your school, consider doing a deep dive on the composition and characteristics of each aquifer if time permits.

Additional Resource:

Watch the following video from the PBS and Amazon Prime documentary series Power Trip: The Story of Energy.


SS.6.6B, SS.6.3C

Watt Watchers of Texas is a Partner Program of Smart Energy Education.
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