Geothermal Energy

Overview: In this unit students will learn about geology topics relating to hot springs with mineral deposits as well as geothermal energy with hot water being heated underground and rising to the surface.


This curriculum was developed to connect the students to the NM Epscor work being done to as well as work being done at NMSU.

Background: This unit will typically follow a 4 to 6 week (10-12 hours) of introduction to computer modeling, complex adaptive systems and StarLogo Nova. See our 6 week Introduction to Complex Systems and Modeling in StarLogo Nova

Pacing Guide: click this link to see the pacing guide for the Geothermal unit.

  • Week 1: Students start their model of a hot spring with mineral deposits.
  • Week 2: Students finish their model of a hot spring with mineral deposits.
  • Week 3: Students start their Geothermal Groundwater model
  • Week 4: Students finish their Geothermal Groundwater model
    • Link to vocabulary words relating to Geology & Geothermal Energy
    • Finish Geothermal Groundwater Computer Model Challenge: Make a computer model of a water moving through the ground (groundwater). When it hits a hot area of magma, it will rise and become a hot spring.
    • Link to model description
    • Discussion: Does your computer reflect what is happening under the Valles Caldera? What do you need to change to make it more accurately reflect the interaction of groundwater and magma under the Valles Caldera?
  • Week 5: Students work on further modifying one of their their geothermal models
  • Week 6: Finish Geothermal Model, students collect data and share out to group
    • Students stop coding and start collecting data from their model.
    • Students Use Experiment Planning and Data Sheet to collect data. Linked here