Shaking Down the Soil

EXPLORATION

PRIMARY ELEMENTARY  |  SCIENCE
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Shaking Down the Soil

Students will use senses to observe and analyze soils and earth materials.

Time

1 Hour

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
  • Container filled with soil
  • Jar

Procedures

  1. After determining the ingredients of the soil, student can explore how much of each of those ingredients is in their soil. This can be compared to a recipe – not only does a recipe list the ingredients but how much of each.
  2. As a whole group, demonstrating filling a jar about one-third full with a soil sample. Then add clear water until the jar is almost full and mix or shake it very thoroughly.
  3. After at least one hour, the contents will settle and you should be able to see the different layers appearing. The largest inorganic rock particles will be on the bottom – pebbles, then sand, then silt, then clay. In the middle will be the water. At the top will be floating organic material that isn’t fully rotted yet.
  4. Assist students in estimating a ratio of inorganic to organic particles in the soil reminding students that the more organics particles, the more nutrients the soil has in it (and that organic matter can be added to soil to make it more nutrient-dense, like in composting).

Recommended Resources

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