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Saturday Science: Build a Dam

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"39312","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","alt":"Saturday Science Build a Dam"}}]]Can you make a dam just like mother nature's best builders—beavers? In today's Saturday Science courtesy of PBS Kids, your family can channel their inner busy-beaver and see just how difficult building a dam can be!


  • Long, shallow, clear Tupperware container
  • Sand
  • Small rocks (like aquarium gravel)
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Bucket full of water


  1. Fill the Tupperware container with sand.
  2. Dig the path of a river in the sand.
  3. Choose a spot somewhere along the river to build your dam.
  4. Use popsicle sticks and small rocks to construct a dam that will let only a little bit of water come through, but not too much. 
  5. Test your dam by pouring water from a bucket down the river path.


A dam is a structure that stops a river from flowing. Keep in mind that the deeper the water, the greater the water pressure. The bottom of your dam will need to support more pressure than the top of your dam. If you built your dam in a triangular shape, then the bottom will be wider and will be able to support more pressure. How did your dam work? Did you have to make adjustments to your design after testing it?


If you want to learn more about beavers and other animals, join us in the Animal Secrets exhibit, open now through May 4!

Want more Saturday Science? See all of our at-home activities on the blog or on Pinterest.


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