Soil Solutions

This term for Science we have been looking at a variety of soil samples and analysing their properties and characteristics. Our latest experiment involved us collecting a soil sample from any location and placing it in a clear jar. Next we had to fill our jars with water and shake the jar so that all the water mixed with the soil. We then left the jars on a shelf in the classroom for 2 weeks so they could settle.

Check out some of our jars of soil …

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We also placed a sample of the soil in a zip lock bag. This soil was kept dry at all times and placed next to our jars.

Our task was then to draw our jars of soil by firstly measuring the height of the jar and then the height of each different layer that we could see in jar. We then discussed as a class what soil type each layer would be. We discovered that the larger particles would settle to the bottom first as they are the heaviest. The very fine particles would be sitting on the top layer and then any bark or leaves float up the top.  Here is the order of the layers and what soil type they would be:

Sand layer: These particles are the biggest and weigh more than silt so the bottom layer will be the sand part of the soil and pebbles will also be at the bottom.

Silt layer. Silt particles are smaller than sand and weigh less so they appear over the sand.

Clay layer: Clay particles are the smallest and will be on top. If our soil was really thick clay then there would be sticky lumps of clay at the bottom of the jar. Some of us had no clay or very small amounts which made it difficult to visually see in our jars.

Organic Material: pieces or leaves, bark and other material that has not fully rotted.

The water was very discolored. This colouring was likely to be rotted plant (organic) material that has dissolved in the water.

This activity taught us that soil is made up of a mixture of sand, silt, clay and organic material and that different soil types have different amounts of each in them.

We also calculated the percentage of each soil type that we found in our jar. To do this we divided the height of each soil type by the height of the jar.

Finally we compared our soil in the jar with the same soil that was in our zip-locked bags. The focus questions we answered were:

  • What is similar about your soils?
  • What is different about your soils?
  • What kinds of things are soils made of?
  • Why are there different sized pieces in the soil?

All our data, drawings and reflections were placed on a poster and are now displayed in the classroom.

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Our next task will be to study some rock samples!!!

What did you enjoy the most about creating your soil solution?

What was the main thing you learnt from this investigation?

Which soil types had the largest amount in your sample?

14 thoughts on “Soil Solutions

  1. The sample jars look very interesting and the data posters look great too. 🙂
    Leila – (Milagros mum)

  2. Dear mrs b
    My biggest amount was the sand/dirt
    I learnt is that there is something else in my soil

    By Cooper

  3. Dear Mrs Baldwin,

    What i enjoyed about creating my soil solution was colouring the picture of our jar.

    The main thing i learnt from this investigation was the layers of the soil in the jar.

    The soil types that had the largest amount were the sand and organic matter.
    from kain.

  4. Dear Mrs Baldwin,

    what i enjoyed the most about creating my soil solution was drawing the layers of the soils

    The main thing i learnt from the Investigation was that the soils form into layers of sand, clay, silt and others

    The largest amount of soil i had in my sample was my sand a 1.5 centi meters in width

  5. Dear Mrs Baldwin,
    What I enjoyed about creating my soil solution was putting the soil the dirt in bag and doing my poster.
    The main thing that I learnt was what things are made up in soil like sand,silt,organic matter and clay.
    The soil types that had the largest amount was the sand.
    FROM JADE

  6. Dear Mrs Baldwin,
    What I enjoyed the most about creating my soil solution was drawing the pictures and putting thesis into a zip-lock bag.
    The main thing that I learnt from the investigation was that soil has different layers like sand, silt and clay.
    The soil type that had the largest amount in my sample was the silt.
    From Imogen

  7. Dear Mrs Baldwin,
    What I enjoyed the most about creating my soil solution was leaving my soil out for two weeks so it made a horrible stench!

    the main thing I learnt from the investigation was that when you leave soil in a jar for two-three weeks, it makes a horrible stench!

    The one soil type that was the largest was the sand type.

    From Jackson.

  8. Dear Mrs Baldwin,

    What I enjoyed most about creating my soil solution was drawing the diagram and colouring it in because I love drawing.

    The main thing that I learnt from the investigation was the order of the different soils and learning about their names.

    The largest amount in my sample was the sand which was 1.5 cm and the others were smaller amounts.

    From Grayson

  9. Dear Miss Baldwin,

    What I enjoyed the most about creating my soil solution was seeing all the different layers form.

    The main thing I learnt from the investigation was what order the layers placed.

    The soil type that had the largest amounts sand with 4cm!!!
    From Kendra

  10. Dear Mrs Baldwin,
    What I enjoyed the most about creating soil solution was doing the calculations because I really like maths and numbers.

    The thing that I learned in this topic was that there are lots of different layers and that there is sand, silt, clay and organic matter in all soils.

    Hayden

  11. Dear Mrs Baldwin,

    What I enjoyed the most about creating my soil solution was doing the measurements.
    The main thing that I learnt from the investigation was that you could see all the different layers of the soil.
    The soil type which had that had the largest amount was the sand.

    From Mackenzie.

  12. Bear mrs Baldwin,
    What i enjoyed most about eating my soil solution was drawing it and putting it on the poster.
    The thing that i learnt from this was that the water can go clear in time,and the soil type that had the most in it was the sand.

    From Zoe#:))))

  13. Dear Mrs Baldwin,
    What I enjoyed most about creating my soil solution was drawing our jar, colouring it in and pretty much all to it.
    The main thing I learnt was that soil has different layers.
    The soil type that had the largest amount of soil was the sand and it was 2cm.

    From Jasmine

  14. Dear Mrs Baldwin ,
    What i enjoyed the most about creating my soil solution was drawing my jar and understanding how to do % because now i can i can do it.I also liked it how my jar was 16cm and all my sections of soils all added up to 16cm.The main thing i learnt from this investigation was that there are so many layers of soils and they all have different colours and sizes.The soil type that had the largest amount was my organic material it had 3cm

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