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Soil Does More Than Get You Dirty - A Close-up Look at Soil (Part I)

A Close-up Look at Soil

Guiding Question -
What do we find in soil? Part 1

Time - 45-50 minutes

Student Outcomes
Students will be able to:

  1. state one way the soils on the plates are alike or different.
  2. Make a list of objects they see in their soil sample.


  • *soil each student brought from home
  • paper plates
  • eye droppers
  • hand lens
  • spoons
  • toothpicks
  • paper towels
  • small cups of water


  • clay
  • sand
  • humus
  • soil
  • interaction                            


"When we brainstormed what we knew about soil, we had a lot of ideas. Let's look at the soil you brought from home."


  1. Have students form their collaborative groups. Wait until everyone is settled.
  2. Designate one student in each group to be the getter.
  3. Have the getter pick up a paper plate, spoon, eye dropper, toothpick, hand lens for each student and one cup of water for each group.
  4. Each student will place one spoon full of their soil on their plate and share their soil with the other students in their group. Samples may be numbered if they wish.

    Example of plate

  5. When everyone has their samples, have the students observe their soil. After a few minutes ask — "How are the soil samples alike? different?" (Note: Add these ideas to your original brainstorm.)
  6. "What do you see in your soil samples?" (Also, add these ideas to your brainstorm.)
  7. "Drop a couple of drops of water on each sample. Observe what happens. What interaction did you observe? Now take your toothpick and stir each one — how are your samples alike/ different when they are wet? Take your finger and try to make a fingerprint on your paper. Why does one type of soil and water interact with the paper plate better than others? How do the samples feel?" (Add these ideas to your brainstorm.)


Have getters pick up everything except the soil samples. When everyone has finished cleaning up area, proceed to closure of activity.


"How were the soils alike? different? What did you find in your soils? When we have science again, we will do some other experiments to find out more about soil."


*Save soil for Part 2.


Lesson #2
Grade 2-6