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Soil Composition and Structure

Kit #1102
Soil Composition and Structure

In this companion to kit # 1101, students continue their exploration of soil. In the first of three activities, students describe a soil sample, then identify the similarities and differences between their group's descriptions and those of other groups and develop a primary definition of soil. Activity 2 expands the investigation of soils by using a water column to separate soil samples into various components. This data provides more evidence on the types and proportions of the different materials in each soil and allows students to refine their previous definition of soil. Activity 3 is a reading which provides information that expands their personal experience and observations from the previous activities to deepen and refine their understanding of the composition, structure and development of soil.

Details at a Glance

  • 3-4 Days | 3-4 ~50 minute class periods
  • 3 Activities
  • Accommodates unlimited classes, each with 6 groups of 4 students
  • Meets our criteria for supporting literacy
  • All materials are non-consumable

Complete Kit Equipment Package

Soil Composition and Structure

Need to Extend Your Kit Materials?

Scientific Concepts

• One way to gather data is through direct observation. Accurate and complete observations are important for making conclusions about the natural world.
• Soil consists of weathered rocks and decomposed organic material from dead plants, animals, and bacteria.
• Soils are often found in layers, with each layer made up of a different chemical composition and texture.
Key Vocabulary:  mud, nutrients, observation, organic matter, rock, sand, silt, soil, topsoil, weathering, centimeters (cm), composition, evidence, clay, decompose, eroded, graduated cylinder, gravel, inorganic matter, milliliter (mL)

Guides & Student Sheets

Our kits and modules provide you with everything you need so you can open, review, and teach the material confidently the next day.

  • Full downloadable Teacher Guide with background information, detailed instruction, example data and answers
  • Downloadable Student Sheets with age appropriate background information, full procedure(s), and analysis questions
  • All materials necessary to carry out the investigation
  • Safety Data Sheets

Kit Components

  • 18 Cups, 9-oz plastic
  • 12 Plastic tubes with caps, Clear
  • 12 3x5 index cards
  • 8 Plastic teaspoons
  • 6 Sieves
  • 6 Cylinders and bases, 50-mL graduated
  • 6 Cups, 30-mL graduated
  • 6 AB trays
  • 1 Soil A, 32-oz. bottle
  • 12 Magnifying lenses
  • 12 15-cm metric rulers
  • 1 Soil B, 32-oz. bottle
  • 28 Student Worksheet and Guides: How to Measure Length using a Metric Rule
  • 28 Student Worksheet and Guides: Measuring Volume with a Graduated Cylinder
  • 28 Student Worksheet and Guides: Soil Composition and Structure
  • 1 Teacher’s Guide with MSDS
  • 1 Transparency: Comparing Particle Size
  • Not included and needed for instruction: Bottle of local soil (optional), several large containers or tubs, pieces of white paper, flat-bottomed containers such as a tray or box.

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