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Sorting and Observing Soil

Sorting and Observing Soil

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to observe, compare, describe, and sort components of soil by size, texture, and color.

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Essential Understanding

The student knows that the natural world includes rocks, soil, and water that can be observed in cycles, patterns, and systems.

Science Background

Soil Stories—The Whole Story: SC-NRCS & ESRI-SC Partnership (video) – Engaging explanation of the importance of soil, its components and conservation.

Soil Stories—The Whole Story
SC-NRCS & ESRI-SC Partnership, www.sc.nrcs.usda.gov

The Dirt on Soil: Discovery Education (website) - Discover the difference between soil and dirt.

The Dirt on Soil
Discovery Education, school.discoveryeducation.com

S. K. Worm Answers Your Questions About Soil: Children of the Earth (website) – S. K. Worm, official annelid (worm) of the USDA National Resources Conservation Service provides useful information about soil.

S. K. Worm Answers Your Questions About Soil
Children of the Earth, www.childrenoftheearth.org

Signature Lesson

Properties of Soil: Baylor College of Medicine (PDF) - Students will describe and discuss the properties of Earth material.

Properties of Soil
Baylor College of Medicine

Supporting Lessons

What Is Soil Made Of? BioEd Online (website) – Students observe, compare, describe and sort soil the components of soil samples, and determine soil texture.

What Is Soil Made Of?
BioEd Online, www.bioedonline.org

Fun Soil Activities: Bureau of Land Management (website) - Investigate the color, texture and contents of soil with these hands-on activities.

Fun Soil Activities
Bureau of Land Management, www.blm.gov

How Does Moisture Affect the Color of Soil? Education.com (website) - Students investigate the soil in their yards or other common locations, and answer the question, “When soil gets wet does its color change, and if so, why?

How Does Moisture Affect the Color of Soil?
Education.com

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

John Muir Study Guide Science Lesson Plan, Soil: Sierra Club (website) - Students observe the properties of soil and learn the various materials from which it is composed.

John Muir Study Guide Science Lesson Plan, Soil
Sierra Club, www.sierraclub.org

Assessment Ideas

Give each student several different Earth materials, such as sand, clay, potting soil or humus. Have them draw a picture of each material in their science notebooks and verbally describe the materials’ physical properties, including color, particle size and texture.

Literature Connections

Sand and Soil Earth’s Building Blocks. Gurney, Beth (ISBN0778714497)

Soil. Richardson, Adele (ISBN 0736833676)

Related Science TEKS

(1.1A) Science Safety
The student is expected to recognize and demonstrate safe practices as described in the Texas Safety Standards during classroom and outdoor investigations, including wearing safety goggles, washing hands, and using materials appropriately.

(1.1B) Importance of Safe Practices
The student is expected to recognize the importance of safe practices to keep self and others safe and healthy.

(1.1C) Recycling/Disposal of Science Materials
The student is expected to identify and learn how to use natural resources and materials, including conservation and reuse or recycling of paper, plastic, and metals.

(1.2A) Ask Questions
The student is expected to ask questions about organisms, objects, and events observed in the natural world.

(1.2B) Plan and Conduct Descriptive Investigations
The student is expected to plan and conduct simple descriptive investigations such as ways objects move.

(1.2C) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect data and make observations using simple equipment such as hand lenses, primary balances, and non-standard measurement tools.

(1.2D) Record and Organize Data & Observations
The student is expected to record and organize data and observations using pictures, numbers, and words.

(1.2E) Communicate Observations
The student is expected to communicate observations with others about simple descriptive investigations.

(1.3A) Identify,Explain and Propose a Solution to a Problem
The student is expected to identify and explain a problem such as finding a home for a classroom pet and propose a solution in his/her own words.

(1.3B) Make Predictions
The student is expected to make predictions based on observable patterns.

(1.3C) Explore Scientists
The student is expected to describe what scientists do.

(1.4A) Tools for Collecting Information
The student is expected to collect information using tools, including computers, hand lenses, primary balances, cups, bowls, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and timers; non-standard measuring items such as paper clips and clothespins; weather instruments such as demonstration thermometers and wind socks; and materials to support observations of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

Related Math TEKS

1.9A    The student is expected to collect and sort data.

1.9B     The student is expected to use organized data to construct real object graphs, picture graphs, and bar-type graphs.

1.11C   The student is expected to select or develop an appropriate problem-solving plan or strategy including drawing a picture, looking for a pattern, systematic guessing and checking, or acting it out in order to solve a problem.

1.11D  The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

1.12A  The student is expected to explain and record observations using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

Additional Resources

Properties of Rocks and Soil: University of Missouri, eThemes (website) - Learn about the properties of rocks and soil, how rocks are made, and how soil is formed.

Properties of Rocks and Soil
University of Missouri, eThemes, ethemes.missouri.edu

The Scoop on Soils: The Globe Program (website) - Storybook exploring the properties of soil.

The Scoop on Soils
The Globe Program, globe.gov

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