Dishing the Dirt Part 2

High schoolers continue to explore and understand soil characteristics as they follow-up preliminary field studies and laboratory investigations with an experiment on soil texture. Applying their findings to the real world, they keep ongoing notes and records in Soil Journals and Lab Reports and begin an e-mail correspondence with a university based soil scientist.

For more about Special #3 from Techno Gardening, e-mail Aida Quinones, author and AT&T Teacher Disseminator.
Learning Standards
  • Research, analyze and evaluate environmental challenges through observation,
  • Research and apply the unifying concepts of science.
  • Use technologies to obtain, utilize and present information.
  • Classroom Activities
    Students collect enough soil from the school grounds and neighboring sites to fill a gallon-size plastic bag. For this lab investigation they prepare to analyze the texture of a soil sample in order to discover the ratio of its different-sized mineral particles. As they describe the sand, silt, and clay that make up the texture of

    soil, they begin to understand how soil
    ingredients affects the ability of soil to hold
    water and resist erosion. When students
    complete this Lab Investigation, they
    will be able to determine and describe the
    Soil Ratios and Types.
    Community Activities
    By proceeding with an educational campaign to alert younger gardeners about the importance of analyzing soil for school gardens and how to properly dispose of toxic materials, students continue to improve the local environment.
    Students continue to research careers as soil
    conservation technician, soil analyst,
    agronomist, soil consultant, farmer,
    Applications in Biology/Chemistry, 1994: Center for Occupational Research and Development , Waco, Texas; LaMotte Soil Handbook, Chestertown, MD; gallon-size plastic bags, bottles with cap, soil samples, tap water, spatula, cardboard, metric ruler, funnel, newspaper

    Ongoing Internet research and
    documentation of work with PowerPoint
    lead students to e-mail a university soil
    scientist and begin a dialogue about their

    Tests and frequent checking of Soil Journals and Answers in Lab Report and Soil Analysis continue to assess student understanding of soil science.

    Web Sites
    Students log on two more soil-related sites: