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 discoloured. 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?

9 thoughts on “Soil Solutions

  1. Dear miss b

    I enjoyed learning about the lairs that we got on our jars.

    i learned that the first lair is soil silt then sand

    it was sand for me.

  2. Dear mrs Baldwin,
    the thing I enjoyed most about making our soil solution was finding out our percentages because it’s weird to divide the smaller number by the bigger number.

    I learnt mostly all the main soils clay, sand and silt and if you put an even mix between these three soils it makes the perfect soil called loam.

    The soil that was most in my jar was silt.

  3. dear Mrs Baldwin,

    I enjoyed studying the layers of soils.

    I learnt that the first layer is sand.

    The sand was the largest in mine but different for others

    from Dylan

  4. Dear miss Baldwin,
    my favourite part about this activity was drawing the jars!
    the main thing I have learnt from this is that there are lots of different types of soil!

    love kaitlyn!

  5. Dear Ms Baldwin,
    I enjoyed drawing the jars as you could look at the layers and really examen all the different soils. I learnt that theres more than one type of soil and different soils are made for different purposes.The type of layer that had the most percentage was water.

    From Tia 🙈

  6. Dear ms baldwin

    I enjoyed couculating the question to get the answers.

    i learnt how many soils there are.

    for mine it was sand

    kind regards amani

  7. Dear mrs Baldwin
    the thing that i enjoyed about making the soil is wat happened to the soil after that week past.

    The main thing that i found out about the soil is wat dirt is made out of .

    The largest type of soil in my jar was sand.😜

  8. Dear mrs Baldwin,

    The thing I enjoyed the most was naming the types of soil.

    I lernt that after 2 or3 weeks soil separates.

    The soil type that had the largest amount in my sample was sand.

    By Gianna :}

  9. Dear Mrs Baldwin,
    I most enjoyed making the poster and putting it all together and drawing our jar.
    The main thing I learnt was how all of the dirt separates after a while.
    The soil that had the most amount was silt.

    From Emily

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