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Soil Composition and Soil Erosion Unit for Distance Learning

Grade Levels
9th - 11th
Formats Included
  • Google Drive™ folder
  • Webquests
30 pages + Google Forms quiz
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Made for Google Drive™
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Also included in

  1. Looking for Environmental Science or Earth Science lessons for a 1:1 classroom or virtual learning environment? This HUGE bundle of lessons, labs, and field activities is the perfect fit! Your students will be engaged while learning about plate tectonics, rocks, minerals, soil, and energy sources
    Save $5.90


This paperless bundle of lessons, worksheets and lab activities is perfect for a high school environmental science course or earth science overview. This unit will introduce your students to soil horizons and layers, soil texture, and soil composition. Activities for studying soil erosion and soil conservation through agriculture are also included.

Topics included in this lesson are: physical and chemical weathering, soil horizons (O, A, B, C), soil particles (silt, sand, clay), wind erosion, water erosion, soil conservation, soil texture, soil texture triangle, soil microbes, porosity, permeability, soil profiles for various biomes, erosion control techniques, crop rotation, no-till planting, contour farming, terrace farming, groundcover, windbreaks, effect of erosion on soil quality, water quality, and air quality

*These paperless items are designed to be used in a 1:1 classroom. If you would prefer a printable version of this lesson, click here.

What's included? *Note: Students can type on all pages in a Google Slides format.

  • Detailed teacher lesson plan including essential questions, standards, pacing guide, optional supplementary activities and materials list
  • Web-quest for content delivery with guided student notes
  • Soil Analysis Lab- students use hands-on exploration and soil suspension to categorize soil samples using a soil texture chart (Example soil samples are provided for students to interpret if they are unable to complete this lab with real soil.)
  • Independent Research Activity- students research, draw, and explain the soil profiles for various biomes
  • Soil Erosion Activity- students explore the best type of erosion control barrier in this STEAM lab
  • 3 Extension Pages for bell-ringers or homework- soil microbes, porosity v. permeability, agricultural practices for soil conservation
  • Math Extension page- students interpret graphs and maps to analyze soil erosion rates across the country
  • Quick Check- bell-ringer or warm-up to review soil erosion effects on the environment
  • Editable Online quiz using Google Forms for easy grading

This resource is saved in a Google Drive folder, so you will need Google Drive in order to access it.

▶️How can I use this in a virtual learning environment?

  • The digital files can be dropped right into your Google Drive. From there, you can assign the student files to your class.
  • Students can use links, videos, and other embedded items to learn new concepts and practice. Students type directly on the pages and can submit them electronically back to you or print them.

➤My Environmental Science Series includes lessons for each sphere of the earth:

1. Hydrosphere Bundle (in digital/paperless or print versions)

2. Biosphere Bundle (in digital/paperless or print versions)

3. Atmosphere Bundle (in digital/paperless or print versions)

4. Geosphere/Lithosphere (in digital/paperless or print versions)

This is a large bundle of lessons. To see details about each activity, please click on the "PREVIEW" button above.

What curriculum could I use with this lesson?

This lesson is ideally geared towards high school students, but some portions would work for middle school students, as well. A general level Environmental Science or Earth Science textbook would coincide with these topics. It also addresses the following topics in AP Environmental Science (APES):

  • 4.2: Soil Formation and Erosion
  • 4.3: Soil Composition and Properties
  • 5.4: Impact of Agricultural Practices
  • 5.15: Sustainable Agriculture

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Total Pages
30 pages + Google Forms quiz
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems. Examples should include climate feedbacks, such as how an increase in greenhouse gases causes a rise in global temperatures that melts glacial ice, which reduces the amount of sunlight reflected from Earth’s surface, increasing surface temperatures and further reducing the amount of ice. Examples could also be taken from other system interactions, such as how the loss of ground vegetation causes an increase in water runoff and soil erosion; how dammed rivers increase groundwater recharge, decrease sediment transport, and increase coastal erosion; or how the loss of wetlands causes a decrease in local humidity that further reduces the wetland extent.
Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems. Examples of data on the impacts of human activities could include the quantities and types of pollutants released, changes to biomass and species diversity, or areal changes in land surface use (such as for urban development, agriculture and livestock, or surface mining). Examples for limiting future impacts could range from local efforts (such as reducing, reusing, and recycling resources) to large-scale geoengineering design solutions (such as altering global temperatures by making large changes to the atmosphere or ocean).
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity. Examples of key natural resources include access to fresh water (such as rivers, lakes, and groundwater), regions of fertile soils such as river deltas, and high concentrations of minerals and fossil fuels. Examples of natural hazards can be from interior processes (such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes), surface processes (such as tsunamis, mass wasting and soil erosion), and severe weather (such as hurricanes, floods, and droughts). Examples of the results of changes in climate that can affect populations or drive mass migrations include changes to sea level, regional patterns of temperature and precipitation, and the types of crops and livestock that can be raised.
Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth's systems and life on Earth. Emphasis is on the dynamic causes, effects, and feedbacks between the biosphere and Earth’s other systems, whereby geoscience factors control the evolution of life, which in turn continuously alters Earth’s surface. Examples include how photosynthetic life altered the atmosphere through the production of oxygen, which in turn increased weathering rates and allowed for the evolution of animal life; how microbial life on land increased the formation of soil, which in turn allowed for the evolution of land plants; or how the evolution of corals created reefs that altered patterns of erosion and deposition along coastlines and provided habitats for the evolution of new life forms. Assessment does not include a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of how the biosphere interacts with all of Earth’s other systems.


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