Soil

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Just_Beginning2, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. Just_Beginning2

    Just_Beginning2 Rookie

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    Mar 29, 2009

    In May I will be doing a unit on soil (how soil is formed, its properties, the relationship between soil and water and its effect on plants and animals). Any ideas about what to do in this unit? This will be my first time teaching it, so I'm looking for any new ideas :
    )
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 29, 2009

    Do you have a woods or nature trail near your school? We have a woods adjacent to our school so it's great to take a walk, turn over dead and decaying tree logs, dig under old fallen leaves and see how plant matter decays to become part of the soil...You could also try 'worm composting':
    http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/forestry/projects/worms.pdf
    Kind of sounds cool to me...
     
  4. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Mar 29, 2009

    What grade/age?

    The first thing that popped into my head is vermicomposting. :D

    Also, getting different types of soil and planting in them, with the soil being the only variable, students can keep data on how the plants are growing.
     
  5. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    Mar 29, 2009

    We do a unit on soil, too! I plan to have the kids test which types of soil hold the most water (use clear jars, and place a coffee filter over each that hangs into the jar, secured by a rubberband. Place the same amount of soil on each coffee filter. Pour the same amount of water over each soil sample, and measure how much water comes out. Water in - water out = how much water the soil holds.), and how that affects what can be planted there. We also observe soil and see what we can find in it (small rocks, twigs, etc).
     
  6. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Mar 29, 2009

    Start it off with the last suggestion by snickydog. Have each child bring in soil from somewhere in their yard in a plastic baggie. Spread out newspaper and look at what's found. List the items. Then use a hand lens and look again. List again.

    One of my kids once found a necklace chain.
     
  7. dxiechicken41

    dxiechicken41 Rookie

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  8. Blaster

    Blaster Rookie

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    Apr 3, 2009

    Contact your local Soil and Water Mangement. They have people trained to come out and do presentations for you. I live in NC and they are wonderful resources.
     
  9. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Apr 3, 2009

    JustBeginning,
    I have a third grade unit on Soil, Weathering, and Erosion. If you pm me with your email address, I'll be glad to send it to you.
     
  10. 4alicat

    4alicat Companion

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  11. missidy

    missidy Rookie

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    Apr 4, 2009

    While looking at the "Ancient Egyptian Artifacts" discussion in this forum, someone mentioned the Smithsonian website. I ended up running into a section on soil...not what i was looking for, but it looked quite interesting. Not sure if it has lesson plans, but it had some neat videos and info. http://forces.si.edu/soils/
     
  12. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Apr 4, 2009

    I have never taught it, but I come from an environmental clean up background and hold 5 Professional Engineer's licenses as well as a Professional Geologist's license. I'll be happy to add anything I can to the discussion.

    The concepts that first come to mind are...

    What is the difference between a clay, a silt, and a sand. The answer is simple, particle size. If you can rub the dirt together with your fingers and feel gritty particles, it has sand in it or is totally sand.

    The next size down is silt. You can't feel the individual soil particles in silt but it doesn't stick together like clays do. (There's some hands on tests to figure out if it's a clay or a silt.)

    The smallest soil particles are the clays and they really like to stick together.

    Soil Layers This is a really interesting concept you can teach with small tubs of sand. Show them how soil layers up in horizons.

    Start with a pan that is like lasagna and all the layers or even. (Heck, start with a pan of lasagna and feed the class.)

    Then go to pans where the layers aren't continuous across the entire pan.

    Since we're talking 3rd graders, I would probably have them build their own layers instead of trying to figure out what's in a precreated pan.

    A step up would be to add a stream or creek that cuts an erosion path through the layers. You can come up with a cut through your layers and then an erosion deposit that is a mixture of layers if you play around with a sand table of some sort.

    All sorts of fun stuff you can do with this one.

    Groundwater I would definitely discuss how water flows through the soil.

    Perhaps you could go outside and dig up some dirt with the kids. Find some places where they have a good tight clay, a silt, and a sand.

    Put these in cups or strainers and the pour water over them. The water will run right through the sand, but slow down on the silt and get stuck on the clay.

    If you want to jump to the next level, have them build a layer system in an aquarium using each type of soil and pour water on it. (Make sure to have the clay as a middle layer.) Let them watch the water perculate through the soil and then collect on top of the clay. It will slowly pass through the clay....very slowly.


    PS - I accidently clicked this forum and responded before I realized i was in elementary ed. Just to re-itterate, I have no understanding of how to teach the young ones and have GREAT love for you folks. You send me well educated highschoolers who I then torment with quadratic equations, quartic equations, and logarithms. buwahahahahah
     

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