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Soil Does More Than Get You Dirty - Soil Erosion

Soil Erosion

Guiding Question -
How does soil move from one place to another?


Time - 20-25 minutes

Student Outcomes
Given items from material list, student will be able to:                                             

  1. Make a prediction on whether they think the soil will run out or splash out of the container or stay in.
  2. Draw a happy face in the prediction section of their worksheet if they think the soil will stay in the container; or  draw a sad face if they think the soil will run or splatter on the paper.
  3. Observe and record the actual outcome in the result section of their worksheet.
  4. Draw on the back of their worksheet other things they think will help soil stay in place.


For each group of students at a table:

  • container of soil
  • container with a section of grass sod
  • cup of water
  • large sheet of lightly colored paper
  • worksheet with sections for prediction and result.


  • sandstone
  • shale
  • properties
  • soil
  • prediction


Review the activity with sandstone and shale by asking how long did it take to make just a small amount of ground up rock? "We made what we call soil. What would happen if it rained on bare soil? How does our homemade shale and sandstone soil compare with the soil that we found outside. How were the two soils alike? different? What happened when you put water on our soil we made?"


  1. Have the getters come and get a large sheet of paper to cover their table. They will need to get a cup of water and worksheet for each student in their group, too. "I am passing out a container to each group. Please leave it in the center of your table. Some of you have soil and some of you have soil with grass growing in it. Where are some places we would find grass growing?" (yards, parks, school, church, etc.) "Where are places we find soil without grass?" (fields, gardens, parks, dirt roads, beach, etc.)
  2. "I would like for each of you to predict whether the soil in your container will stay in or whether it will run and splatter out when we pour the cup of water from about this high. (model) Draw a happy face in the top portion of your paper if you think the soil will stay in; or draw a sad face if you think the soil will run out."
  3. Have starter pour a cup of water over their container. The rest of the group may want to stand back from the table. "Look at your paper carefully. What do you observe?" (response) "Is this what you predicted would happen?" (response) "Record what actually happened in the bottom portion of your paper." (use the happy/sad face method again)
  4. Collect all the containers and have getters throw away paper and return cups to the supply table.


"For those who had grass growing in their soil, what happened when you poured the water on?" (response) "...and for those of you who just had soil?" (response) "Do you think the grass helped keep the soil in the pan." (response) "This experiment has shown us what happens to our soil when it rains. Grass is very important in keeping our soil from washing away."


"If Mr. Jones bought a new house and every time it rained the soil from his yard ran down his driveway, what would he need to do?" (plant grass, trees, flowers, etc.) "I want you to draw a picture that would show what Mr. Jones might do to keep his soil from washing away."

Example Worksheet




Lesson #4
Grade K-1