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Lesson Plan December 8, 2016

Koni: Summarizing the impact of disappearing groundwater in four countries




  1. What do the GRACE satellites measure?
  2. What is the Ogalalla aquifer and what is its significance?
  3. What images stick with you? Why do you think that is?
  4. What role does family play in the video? Why do you think that is?
  5. What could be the impact of reduced groundwater on Kansas and its population?
  6. What does the film offer as a possible solution?

Pumped Dry: United States questions


Section 1: Introduction


  1. What is the Ogalalla aquifer and what is its significance?
  2. How are farmers adapting to decreasing water levels?
  3. Who is using the groundwater? For what purposes?
  4. How much groundwater has been used in the U.S. over the last century? Where is most of it being used?
  5. What is the GRACE mission and what is its purpose?
  6. Why is the loss of groundwater being studied?


Section 2: Hitting Bottom


  1. How does the section begin? Why do you think the author chooses to start this way?
  2. Who is the subject of this section? How has he been impacted by decreasing water supplies?
  3. Watch the video and consider the following: Why has the author chosen to include a video here? How does it contribute to the story?


Section 3: Pumping Niagara

  1. What happens to groundwater when it is pumped?
  2. What evidence does the article provide in this section that the water loss in Kansas is significant?


Section 4: Dry Land

  1. How does this section begin? Why do you think the author chooses this image?
  2. How are farmers adapting to decreasing groundwater supplies?
  3. What does Mark Rude, Mark Rude, executive director of the Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 3, mean when he says, “We’re only about 9 percent sustainable.”


Section 5: Mounting Stresses

  1. Which crops use a significant amount of water?
  2. How are different states reacting to decreasing groundwater supplies?


Section 6: A fight for water

  1. How have the Garetsons taken action in response to their decreasing water reserves? What has been the impact?

Continent exploration questions:

  1. How does the article begin? Why do you think it starts this way?
  2. What is groundwater and why is it important in this region?
  3. What evidence is there that amount of groundwater is decreasing?
  4. Why is groundwater depleting?
  5. What are the impacts of decreasing groundwater?
    1. What is the impact on the subjects of the article?
    2. What are potentially more global impacts?
  6. What does the article suggest are potential solutions to decreasing groundwater? What action steps have already been taken and what changes still need to be made?
  7. How does the article end? Why do you think it ends this way?
  8. Consider the following about the writing of the article:
    1. What was the structure of the piece? What information was presented, and in what order?
    2. How was information presented? What did you find to be the most impact pieces of information, and why?
    3. What quotations/video/photos made the biggest impact on you? Why?

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