Monday, April 30, 2012

Science Investigation: A Soil Study

We started our study of Soil this week.  This is one of my favorite science units and I always run out of time for all that I wish I could do on this topic. 
My hook into the unit is the reading of the story, Dirt Boy.  This is a laugh out loud story of Fister Farnello and how his love of playing in the dirt got him into big trouble.  You must get this one. Watching the faces of the kids as they hear this story read aloud is really priceless. 

After reading the story of Dirt Boy I give my students a dish of dirt (soil from my bought soil does not work for this investigation), a magnifying glass, a popsicle stick and a recording sheet.
Here are the soil samples I gave them.  I make sure that it has plenty of organic material in it.

Here is the Soil Study investigation sheet.  I used some AIMS materials (love their stuff!) and cut and pasted what I needed to make a recording sheet to fit our state objectives.

Then the kids were given time to examine the soil and record what they found in it.

We talked about how scientists use their senses to observe matter.  They drew pictures and wrote labels to describe what they saw.

They shared their findings with the group and I introduced the words: organic, inorganic and humus. Lots of brand new words associated with this unit. I will share the vocabulary cards on another post.

Yes, this child wrote drew and labeled "poop" as something found in the soil sample.  Not sure that's what it was but didn't feel like taking too close of a look myself so we went with it.

Here are the recording sheets we used.  I ran it back to back and we folded it to make a booklet.
We categorized what we found as organic or inorganic on the back tree map. 

Head here to get these materials to try out with your students:
I'll share more soil investigations soon. Would love to see anything others are doing with this unit. Please share!!


  1. we just started our study of the parts of the earth. this would be a great activity to add to it! thanks for sharing!

  2. We are about to study dirt also! So share are giving me great ideas! We also "mine" cookies. The kiddos mine the chocolate chips out of a cookie with a toothpick.

  3. I can download the mini book that you have put on your blog. Is there a way to download it.

  4. I am a new teacher and looking for ideas for my classroom. I absolutely LOVE this! I would love to get a copy of it to use. I do not have a Scribd membership so I can't print it from there. Are you selling it on tPt? I would rather give you the money than scribd. Or if you could email this to me??

  5. We just completed a soil unit in 2nd grade. I remembering using AIMS lessons in college, can you buy the lessons?