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Hydrofracking - with Turbidity Data

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6-8, 9-12 Data Exploration & NOS

Hydrofracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a gas production technique where the natural gas is extracted from rock deep underground using a cocktail of water and chemicals (fracking fluid), injected with high pressure.  There are a number of ecological concerns related to this practice, including an increase in turbidity due to infrastructure development for the wells and reduced streamflow due to water withdrawals for the fracking process.  In this unit, students explore how fracking might affect turbidity levels using secondary data from streams in Arkansas and a first-hand investigation on turbidity in a pond microcosm.

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will understand the process of hydrofracking and will be able to use a short article to explain the benefits and drawbacks, focusing on turbidity.   

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know how to recognize variability in hydrofracking data, and will be able to make an appropriate graph of provided turbidity data.

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know how to test for turbidity in their local stream and will be able to explain whether their stream is contaminated by turbidity. 

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know what level of turbidity affects aquatic organism, and will be able to explain the results of an experiment to determine these levels.

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know how turbidity and hydrofracking are connected, and will be able to explain the impact of hydrofracking with respect to ecosystem health using data.