Soil is such an important component of curriculum throughout elementary, middle school and high school in Earth Science, Geology and Environmental Science. A healthy soil is vital for our yards, our gardens and our agricultural crops.
This soil lab includes testing for soil type (2 ways), chemical testing for pH and nutrients, and 20 questions.
I have worked and perfected this lab for about 12 years. I have used it in science camps with lots of assistance with elementary students. More of a hands-on, teacher-led experience without the instructions. I have used it in middle school with some assistance and with my 12th graders with minimal assistance. The directions are very clear as long as students can read through them.
The Soil Lab PowerPoint is a great way to prep the students for what they are going to experience in lab, plus it has videos to help when they are testing their soil.
First, students will take dry soil, wet it and feel for texture and conduct "ribboning". They will follow a flow chart which will give them a rough idea on their samples' soil type. I have videos available in the PowerPoint to explain the process.
Second, students with take their soil-water sediment jars and conduct a more extensive test for soil type. This will have students using the soil triangle. Instructions walk students through how to make a sediment jar and superb instructions on how to take the data.
Finally, students will use the Rapi-test Soil Testing Kit (can be purchased through most Science companies) to determine the pH, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels in the soil. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are macronutrients provided from the soil which are necessary for plant growth.
The Rapi-test Soil Testing Kit is a very easy way to test for these nutrients. Elementary students love the simple color change in reading the results, but high school students still value the effectiveness of the data.
Also, these kits are fairly inexpensive and refills can be purchased each year.
Included with this Soil Lab:
• PowerPoint: Soil Lab
• Soil Lab Instructions
• Soil Lab Data Sheet
• Soil Triangle
• Soil Texture Chart
• Soil Particle Size