What's Is Soil Made Of?

It's time to roll up those sleeves and get a little dirty in the second lesson of this series on the science of food. Investigate where plants and animals get the minerals they need to live in this two-part exploration of soil. First, learners look carefully at soil samples, recording their observations and identifying the different materials they find. Then, plastic bottles filled with soil and water are shaken up in order to observe how the soil settles in different layers at the bottom. Measure these layers and discuss how soil is composed of a variety of materials. Use this activity to facilitate a better understanding of plant life, or as part of a lesson on geological processes.

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Adaptable
Pros

  • Worksheets are provided in both English and Spanish and include step-by-step directions for the soil investigation
  • Provides extension ideas for further investigating soil composition
  • The children's book The Mysterious Marching Vegetables allows for interdisciplinary connections with science and language arts and is available online
Cons

  • Requires the teacher to provide explicit instruction on the importance of soil to plant life
Common Core