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What could be more fun than going outside and playing in the mud! This activity investigates soil composition by having students collect soil samples, creating “soil shakes” in jars and describing the layers that settle. As the student scientists analyze and describe their soil profiles they will learn that the ground under their feet is much more than just “dirt” and develop a new understanding of soil types and properties.
This activity supports learning units focused on soil structure, composition and how soils support life. Students also expand their science vocabulary by learning specific terms like silt and clay. The hands-on investigation provides an authentic learning experience that strengthens connections to nature. As students explore how different soil samples have different profiles they could expand the science by preparing seed germination experiments in each soil type to learn about growing conditions for plants.
Soil conservation is vital to sustainability. A class could research methods for soil protection and prepare a community presentation that promotes actions such as reduced tillage, tree planting and eliminating pollutants like salt.
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