Exploring the Ingredients in Soil

EXPLORATION

PRIMARY ELEMENTARY  |  SCIENCE
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Exploring the Ingredients in Soil

Students will use senses to observe soils by physical attributes.

Time

45 Minutes

Setting

Inside

Collection Group

Sorting Out Soils

 

Standards

  • SKE2b. Students will use senses to observe soils by physical attributes such as smell, texture, color, particle or grain size, etc.
  • SKE2c. Students will recognize earth materials – soil, rocks, water, air, etc.

GSES
a. Ask questions to identify and describe earth materials—soil, rocks, water, and air.
c. Use tools to observe and record physical attributes of soil such as texture and color.

Materials

  • Whiteboard or easel, markers
  • Containers filled with soil (4, shoebox-sized)
  • Hand lenses or other magnifying tools

Procedures

  1. Explain that students will be looking closely at the soil – beyond the color and size of the grains but closer to what else makes up the soil.
  2. In small groups, students can investigate the soil with hand lenses or other magnifying tools to create a list of everything that they find. Their list could include everything from the rock particles, to plant parts, to animals.
  3. As a whole group, students can work together to form a complete long list of all of the things they found in the soil. Provide students with options for vocabulary as different items are described.Then, assist students in groupings similar items based on their similarities and differences until they ultimately create a grouping that may resemble this:(Inorganic)
    Non-Living
    Natural-made –sand, clay, gravel, rocks, water, air
    Man-made – trash, styrofoam, wrappers

    (Organic)
    Once-Living
    Plant Debris – roots, bark, twigs, leaves

    Living
    Animals – worm, roly-poly, shell

  4. Reinforce to students that soil is made up of both non-living parts (like rocks) and once-living parts (like plant debris) that breakdown with the help of living parts (like animals).

Recommended Resources

Online

Children’s Literature

  • Jump into Science: Dirt by Steve Tomecek
  • Dirt: The Scoop on Soil by Natalie Rosinsky (Provided in Lesson Kit)
  • Soil Basics by Mari Schuh
  • Soil: A True Book by Christin Ditchfield
  • In the Garden with Dr. Carver by Susan Grigsby, 18-23 (Provided in Lesson Kit)

More Explorations

Shaking Down the Soil

Shaking Down the Soil

Exploring the Ingredients in Soil

Exploring the Ingredients in Soil

Comparing Soils

Comparing Soils

Recognizing Soil as the Source

Recognizing Soil as the Source