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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Down and Dirty Experiment 6
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The Quicker Picker Upper
Experiment 6



Do all soils have the same saturation rate?

samples of clay, sand, and loam (potting soil), 3 plastic cups, nail, bucket, water, stop watch or watch with second hand


1. Using the nail, poke 4 holes in the bottom of each cup.

2. Label the cups clay, sand, and loam. Fill each cup with the corresponding soil.

Image of sand sample bing placed in water pail

3. Fill the bucket with water. Begin timing as you slowly lower the first cup into the water. 

4. Stop lowering the cup when the top of the cup is just above the surface of the water.

5. Observe the soil. When you see water reaching the surface of the soil, stop timing. Record your times on a chart like the one below.

Soil TypeTime


 image of a flashing light bulb

Think About This:

1. Which soil became saturated the fastest? Why? Refer to "Dig that Stuff" for help.

2. How could this affect a farmer's crops?

3. If you were a farmer, how would you use this information to help you plan irrigation?


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Last Modified: 12/29/2016
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