Infiltrometer Investigation

Keywords: water absorption, infiltrometer; Grade Level: Second Grade; Total Time Required: One Hour; Setting: Three investigation sites: forest floor, lawn, and blacktop

Subjects Covered: Science

Topics Covered: water absorption

Goals for the Lesson

Students will hike and perform an infiltrometer investigation at three different sites. At each site they will note the characteristics of the land, animals, and air. Following their data collection, students will create an infiltrometer and use the tool to determine the amount of moisture that can be absorbed.

Materials Needed

    - 3 sheets of white paper (per student)
    - Pencils, crayons, markers, and colored pencils
    -  PVC piping (1 pipe per pair of students)

State Standards Addressed:
4.1.4 Environment and Ecology
E Recognize the impact of watersheds and wetlands on animals and plants.
   * Explain the role of watersheds in everyday life.
   * Identify the role of watersheds and wetlands for plants and animals.


  1.Ask students /what happens to the rain when it hits the ground?/
    Mark down students ideas. Then explain that today they will be
    conducting three investigations on what happens to the rain and
    where it goes.

  2. Take students to site one: the blacktop. Pass out a sheet of white
    paper and ask the students to draw the ground. Have them label
    what the ground is made up of and what is on the ground. Now have
    them draw the “middle layer” of the site (plants, animals,
    equipment, or anything that sits on the ground). Finally have them
    draw the sky and they should label the items they draw.

  3. After their data is collected tell students that they now will
    collect data on where the water goes using a tool called an
    infiltrometer (pull out a piece of PVC pipe). Demonstrate how to
    use the infiltrometer by having partner A push it into the ground
    as far as it can go and then have partner B fill the hole of the
    infiltrometer with a ¼ cup of water. If the water is absorbed, or
    sucked into the ground, have partner B add a second ¼ cup. Each
    time they add ¼ cup have them make a tally mark on the back of
    their white paper. *Please remember to tell students that if the
    water leaks out of the infiltrometer then that is where the
    tallies stop. If the water sits on top of the ground and is not
    absorbed, they should note this as well.*

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 at a lawn site and then in a forest area.

  5. Have the group come back together to share their data. On the
    board ask students what were some characteristics that they
    noticed in site one. Write them down on the board. Then discuss
    how many tallies they collected with the infiltrometer. Repeat for
    site 2 and 3.

  6. Now ask students to turn on their thinking caps and think about
    why they got these results. What characteristics about the site
    changed where the water went? (prompt students to discuss how
    plants and soil absorb water. Places that have more plants absorb
    more water.

  7. Place the words absorb and infiltrometer onto the science word
    wall. Have students staple their data sheets together and put a
    front cover on the book entitled “Infiltrometer Investigation”.
    Have them keep this to use for future investigations.


Students will be assessed on the completion of the Infiltrometer Investigation book. Students should have a title page and then three sites where they drew the land characteristics as well as kept tallies for their infiltrometer studies.


Amanda Frick, Seven Generations Charter School