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Soil Does More Than Get You Dirty - Learning Center - What's in soil?

Learning Center 1
What's in soil?


  • 4 plastic bowls each filled with a different soil particle size group:
    • clay - (dry - from art department)
    • humus - (leaves, grass)
    • silt - (local Natural Resources Conservation Service office)
    • sand - (lumber yard, sand pile)
  • pencils
  • paper
  • newspapers or sheet of plastic covering (to keep area clean)


Mark bowls with different colored circles. For example: a red circle on one bowl that holds clay, a green circle on another, etc.

Make cards for each student that correspond by color with the circle on the bowl. Each student will need a set four of 4 different colored cards (made of construction paper). On each card give similar instructions and questions listed below on the sample card. The students will correspond the color of the card with the color on the bowl and answer questions about the sample in that bowl.

Sample Red Card

Instructions: Locate the bowl with the red circle on it. Look carefully at what is in the bowl. Answer the following about this soil particle size group:

  1. What is this?
  2. Where would you find this?
  3. Describe how it looks?
  4. Describe how it feels?
  5. Explain what you know about it.

Example card and bowl setup