Water Holding Abilities

Bunny Guy John Fiske School
6145 S. Ingleside Street
Chicago IL 60637
(312) 535-0990


To find out which holds more water----plain soil, soil with evergreen needles,
or soil with pebbles.


3 plastic foam cups pencils
3 small jars water
measuring cup garden soil
paper towels garden soil with evergreen needles
marking pen garden soil with pebbles


1. Get 3 plastic foam cups. Label the cups A, B, and C.
2. Using a nail, make 4 holes in the bottom of each cup. On each cup mark a
line 2cm from the top.
3. Tightly pack cup A with plain garden soil. Pack cup B with soil mixed with
evergreen needles and cup C with soil mixed with pebbles.
4. Place each cup on top of 2 pencils that have been put over a jar.
5. Pour 100mL of water into each cup of soil. Allow the water to drain through
the holes.
6. When water has stopped draining, measure the amounts of water in each jar.
7. Make 3 stacks of paper towels with 3 towels in each stack.
8. Predict which cup of soil will make the towels the most wet.
9. Dump the wet soil from cup A onto one stack of towels. Repeat this step with
each of the other cups onto the other stacks of towels.
10. Compare the wetness of the three stacks of towels.


1. When the water had stopped draining, which jar contained the most water?
Which jar contained the least?
2. Which type of soil seemed to hold the most water? Which type of soil seemed
to hold the least amount of water?
3. When the wet soil from each cup was dumped onto the paper towels, which
stack of towels was most wet? Which stack of towels was the least wet?
4. Which type of soil held the most water?


Students should be able to measure accurately and to interpret data.


Evergreen needles make the soil porous and improve drainage.
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