Questions for “Dew collector brings water to thirsty plants”

a small container with soil and radish sprouts the top of the container is clear plastic

Radish seedlings grow in self-watering soil on the roof of a building in Texas.

Cockrell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

To accompany “Dew collector brings water to thirsty plants


Before Reading:

1.  When the soil is dry, water is in short supply and no rain is forecasted, what can farmers or gardeners do to protect their plants?

2.  Where do farmers typically get their water from to slake the thirst of their crops?

During Reading:

1.  What is the purpose of the super-moisture-absorbent gel described in this story?

2.  How does the role of this gel and the natural formation of dew compare?

3.  How much moisture did gel-treated soil lose compared to untreated soil?

4.  What main questions did Jeff Hattey have about the research? 

5.  How much of the gel additive might farmers have to apply to their fields, according to Hattey?

6.  How toxic or nontoxic does the gel appear to be, based on the story?

After Reading:

1.  Do some research on other ways that scientists are looking to harvest moisture from the air. Describe at least one. How does it compare to what is being reported here? What are the advantages or disadvantages of each? (If you need help, we have some stories you can review: Beetles offer people lessons in moisture control, Here’s one way to harvest water right out of the air and  Cool Jobs: Head in the clouds.)