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Soil Does More Than Get You Dirty - What is Soil?

What is soil?

Guiding Question -
Where do we find it?

Time - 45-50 minutes

Student Outcomes
The student, when asked to brainstorm around the topic of soil, will be able to write down ideas as to what soil is.                           


  • "what" box that contains soil
  • paper for the children


  • brainstorm
  • soil
  • properties
  • objects


"Today, boys and girls, we will start a new unit. I'm going to have you reach into the what box and without saying anything to anyone you will think about what our new unit could be about. I'll ask you to give me properties of the objects in the box." (Note: The teacher needs to move quickly around the room just letting the child feel in the box briefly.)


  1. "What are some properties of the objects in the what box?"
  2. "What is the materials in the what box?" Open box and show contents.
  3. "What do you know about the material in the box? We will call this material soil."
  4. "Take out a sheet of paper. Now I want you to write down everything you know about soil on your sheet like this."

    soil data example

  5. After 5-6 minutes, ask each child to contribute to a class brainstorm.
  6. "What are some questions you have about soil that perhaps we can answer in our unit?"
  7. "What are some things you think you know about soil?"
  8. "Where do we find soil? How is soil made?"
  9. "When we meet next time, I would like for you to bring a cup of soil from around your house or apartment. Be sure you label your sample with: your name, date, where you found your soil."


Lesson #1
Grade 2-6