Will It Dam Water? Yes, No, or Slow?

By Charlotte Cushman on May 23, 2014

A class from the Secondary Program at Perkins School for the Blind wanted to know what materials would stop water from flowing.  Each student helped pick the nine materials that they would test.  This what they found... 


Hypothesis:  We believe the rocks will dam the water best.





Materials in bags

  • water
  • cloth bags
  • gutter
  • styrofoam
  • rocks
  • dirt
  • noodles
  • grass
  • rice
  • magazines
  • oatmeal
  • block styrofoam --oasis block, as used in greenhouse




A boy holds a piece of gutter and a block.

1.  Set up the gutter for experiment.  

2.  Fill the bags with each material.  

3.  Examine all materials.

4.  Student chooses which material to trial next.

5.  Student sets up the trial by placing a cloth bag into the gutter.

6.  Pour water into the gutter.

7.  Collect data on each trial.


Conclusion:  Our hypothesis was incorrect.  The Oasis styrofoam block was the only material that dammed the water.


NGSS Standards:

ESS3.C: Human impacts on Earth systems: Things people do can affect the environment but they can make choices to reduce their impacts.


water dam collage


Read more about: Earth & Space Science, Science, STEM