Questions About Soil

Introduction: Study of Soil-Identifying Questions

The best way to start a soil study is to go outside and survey the school grounds. Things to look for are: amount and type of vegetation, slope, bare spots, moisture level, uses of land, weathering examples. Students collect and label soil samples in plastic bags and save for future observation. Back in the classroom, students study soil samples to describe and test soil characteristics. They compare their samples with classmates’ samples and teacher’s samples. Students identify questions that guide the class during their soil investigation. Later, students design and conduct experiments to answer some of these questions.

Suggested List of Questions About Soil

• What is soil? • Where does soil come from? Where does soil go?
• What is good soil?
• What soil types exist on the school grounds?
• What makes one soil different from another?
• Why are some soils red?
• What is a soil profile? How does it form?
• What is the importance of humus in soil?
• What makes a healthy soil?
• What is the reaction (pH) of a soil?
• Why is soil texture important?
• What lives in soil?
• Why is weathering necessary for soil formation?
• Why is the study of soil science important?
• What methods are available to improve the quality of soil?
• Is soil a limited or unlimited resource?
• What jobs are related to soil?
• What problems and issues are related to soil?
• What might be done about the problems?
• Why is soil important to us?

Ten Soil Characteristics to Investigate:

1. Color
2. Compaction
3. Moisture
4. Organic Matter
5. pH
6. Profile
8. Structure
9. Temperature
10. Texture