This product contains TWO versions of the same lab!
One version, "What is Soil?", is a NGSS inspired exploration of soil. Students start by creating a working definition of soil, based on what they previously know. They then collect a soil sample from home and over the next day or two, study their soil, making observations and recording their data. Along the way they update their working definition of soil. The final part comes after they receive instruction (check out these lecture notes on soil). Students will use this new information to look closer at their observations and data to create a final definition of soil. This version is spread out over 4 days of class.
The second version, "Soil Analysis" is a more traditional lab. Students will bring in a soil sample from home and measure the texture and porosity of the soil. They will then infer their soil's permeability, nutrient and water holding capacities, and make a conclusion about their soil's overall fertility. This lab is usually done after students have been presented with the information about soil and its properties. This version is spread out over 2 days of class.
The files included are in .docx format. Answer keys are not included as answers will vary widely based on the individual students' soils.