gator science

active adventures in lower school science

Solving a Soil Mystery

on October 3, 2013

After digging in the dirt at Horsham Outdoor School and the campus gardens here on campus, students compared the 4th grade garden soil to the 5th grade garden soil.     The students made predictions about the composition of each soil, predicting the amount of sand, silt, and clay in each sample.  Students then completed a number of qualitative and quantitative measurements in the lab.   We used a chemical test to separate the sand, silt, and clay into three test tubes.  Students observed mason jars and graduated cylinders with the sand, silt, and clay layers that settled overnight.   Students looked at the fine grains of the two different soils.  Many students preferred the qualitative tests, as they could clearly see differences visually with a hand lens and physically with their hands.   The noticed the 4th grade soil was light brown in color and a little finer.  The fifth grade soil was darker and contained a small amount of moisture.  The quantitative tests clearly showed the results of the two garden soils.

4th grade garden was a clay sand loam

5th grade garden was a sandy loam

Both gardens have sandy soil, which is great for water drainage in our garden.   Next week we will make bar graphs showing the different % of sand, silt, and clay in the samples.

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