Old Faithful Plumbing Investigation

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This activity (located on page 3 of the PDF) is a full inquiry investigation into mapping the underground “plumbing” of geysers. Groups of learners will mimic an actual investigation into the underground plumbing of Old Faithful by dividing into groups, designing a plumbing system to hide in a cardboard box, then testing other boxes with a probe and making sketches of the hidden plumbing based on their observations. Relates to linked video, DragonflyTV GPS: Geysers.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Field Trip, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • tall boxes, one for every 3-4 students (shoe boxes on end, or large cereal boxes work well)
  • narrow strips of cardboard (about the width of the boxes)
  • tape
  • scissors
  • string
  • a small screw or nut
  • paper
  • pencils


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Volcanoes and Plate Tectonics
    • Earth Structure
      • Rocks and Minerals
    • Earth's History
      • Archeology
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mineral and Mining Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DragonflyTV


  • All rights reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., 2007

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 610429