Super Soaking Materials

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In this activity, learners will test cups full of potting soil, sand, and sphagnum moss to see which earth material is able to soak up the most water. Using a scale and a simple calculation, learners can determine the amount of water held by a material, in reference to its original weight. Relates to the linked video, DragonflyTV GPS: Bogs.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • potting soil, about 1 pound per pair of learners
  • sphagnum moss, from a garden supply store
  • sand
  • 16 oz plastic cups, 3 per pair of learners
  • water
  • a scale, capable of registering up to 5 pounds


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Rocks and Minerals
      • Oceans and Water
      • Biosphere
    • Earth's History
      • Geologic Time
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Equations and Inequalities
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
    • Number and Operations
      • Decimals
      • Multiples and Factors
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • 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., 2006

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 515566