What Youʻll Learn

 

  • Soil is composed of four main “ingredients”: minerals, water, air and organic matter.  The minerals and organic matter in the soil may vary by location.
  • Minerals in soil can be arranged into three categories: sand, silt and clay.  High quality soil has an even balance of all three, which will enable the plant to intake the ideal quantity of water.
  • Healthy soil is essential for the survival of plants.

 

Keywords

  • Decomposition
  • Organic Matter
  • Minerals
  • Particles
  • Silt
  • Sand
  • Clay

Video Lesson

Lesson

Do you know how exciting soil is? There are so many different types of soil. Every location has different types of soil, made up of different elements and microorganisms. Soil is alive and necessary for all plant life to thrive.  

“What is soil?  Where does it come from?  What ‘ingredients’ do you think make up soil?”  

Soil is a mixture of minerals, water, air and organic matter. What are each of these “ingredients” and why it is essential to the plant.  In gardening, we categorize minerals in the soil in three categories: sand, silt and clay.  Because each of these varies by particle size, which will influence its ability to hold water, a healthy soil has a balance of all three.  However, the ratio of sand, silt and clay will vary by location.

Organic matter is anything in the soil that was once alive and is now dead, such as sticks and leaves.  By means of decomposition, the nutrients in the organic matter will be cycled back into the soil for use by living plants.

 

Introduce the focus of the lesson, soil.  Begin demonstrating excitement for soil, bringing to light that, while its composition varies by location, soil is alive and necessary for all plant life to thrive.  

Prompt inquisitive conversation with the students by asking, “What is soil?  Where does it come from?  What ‘ingredients’ make up soil?”  

Explain that soil is a mixture of minerals, water, air and organic matter, expanding lightly on what each “ingredient” is and why it is essential to the plant.  In gardening, we categorize minerals in the soil in three categories: sand, silt and clay.  Because each of these varies by particle size, which will influence its ability to hold water, a healthy soil has a balance of all three.  However, the ratio of sand, silt and clay will vary by location.

Organic matter is anything in the soil that was once alive and is now dead, such as sticks and leaves.  By means of decomposition, the nutrients in the organic matter will be cycled back into the soil for use by living plants.

Introduce the activity Sensual Soil.

NGSS – Next Generation Science Standards

  • K-LS1-1 Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
  • 2-PS1-1 Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.
KAP – Kū ʻĀina Pā Curriculum Map – Courtesy of the Kohala Center

ACTIVITY: Sensual Soil

ACTIVITY: Sensual Soil Activity : Sensual Soil – Students use most of their senses to discover soil in this science/language-arts activity. Reference: Sensual Soil (page 10-11). Courtesy of Life Lab Science Program 2007

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Lesson and Activity Material

  • LESSON_SOIL_What is Soil?_K-2: Document containing teacher lesson plan and links to all associated material.
  • ACTIVITY_Sensual Soil Activity: Sensual Soil – Students use most of their senses to discover soil in this science/language-arts activity. Reference: Sensual Soil (page 10-11). Courtesy of Life Lab Science Program 2007

NOTE: All lesson, activity and additional resources can be downloaded using the Download Zip File link below.

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Additional Resources

  • ACTIVITY: Soil is not Dirt : 14 page Powerpoint presentation explaining the importance of soil with a lot of cool history and nice visuals. Courtesy of Courtesy of the Soil Science Society of America
  • SONG: Dirt Made My Lunch : Youtube video (4 min) with a puppet explaining to children how dirt made their lunch and everything we eat, plus a fun “Dirt Made my Lunch” song! Courtesy of Banana Slug String Band
  • ACTIVITY: Soil Investigators : Students examine soil on a paper plate with a magnifying glass Courtesy of Green Education Foundation

Downloads and Links

Download Zip File

Download Video

Link to Video vimeo.com/468404032This will download all lesson, activity and additional resources. Double click the zip file to open. The download does not include the video.

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