Home Works Elementary Education Distance Learning Curriculum

Developed by Emily T.

Photo of Emily T

Essential Question:

How does an object’s material affect its absorbency? 

Background Knowledge:

Students need to understand that materials are made of different substances. Students need to know that absorbency means the ability something has to soak up a liquid. 


  • Cup of water 
  • 1 Teaspoon 
  • 1 piece of toilet paper 
  • 1 Kleenex 
  • 1 piece of tissue paper 
  • 1 paper towel 
  • Timer 

Safety Protocols:

Pouring water on the materials listed above can cause excess water to soak through and can damage certain surfaces. Make sure students are at a space that cannot be damaged by water (ex: concrete outside, kitchen counter, etc.) 

Activity Procedure:

Step 1: Gather materials and draw a chart (similar to the one below) to record data from the 4 materials/experiments.

Step 2: Compare the textures and characteristics of all 4 materials and record.

Which material do you think will absorb the most water? 

Step 3: Pour water on the toilet paper and set the timer for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, record your findings.

Step 4:  Continue the process of pouring water on each of the materials one at a time, and for each material set a timer for 3 minutes and record your findings.

Is the material that is the most absorbent matching your prediction?

Step 5: Rate the absorbency of the materials, giving the most absorbent a 4 and the least absorbent a 1. 

What makes them alike and different? 

How many layers of each material do you think it would take to absorb all of the water? 

Why do you think the material that you rated a 4 did the best job of absorbing the water? 

What conclusions can you make about the characteristics of materials that make it absorbent? 

Step 6: With parent/guardian permission, share the results of your activity on social media using #AUHomeWorks!

Before adding waterAfter letting the water sit for 3 minutesRank the absorbancy
Toilet paper
Tissue Paper

Last modified: July 13, 2020