Resources for PreK-8 Activity 70 – Soil Stories

In this inquiry-based activity, students will explore differences in soil types and what those differences mean to people and to plants.

This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 

STUDENT PAGES

Download the copyright free student pages that are included with this activity:

Soil Investigation (PDF)

Soil Percolation Test (PDF)

French: Test de Percolation du Sol (PDF)

 

Spanish Student Page(s):

Prueba de Percolacion del Suelo (PDF)

Investigacion del Suelo (PDF)

RECOMMENDED READING

Expand your students’ learning and imaginations. Help students meet their reading goals while building upon concepts learned in this activity with the following children’s book recommendations:

FAMILY ACTIVITY

Try a simple variation of this activity to engage children in the outdoors at home. Download this fun and easy-to-do family activity.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:

  • Dirt with Sid the Science Kid

    Dirt on Dirt, an episode of Sid the Science Kid produced by PBS Kids, explores what makes dirt, dirt! In this episode, Sid and his friends learn about the different types of soil. Paired with a Dirt on Dirt Activity, students ages PreK-2 can follow Sid’s adventure and investigate the dirt and soil on their school grounds.

  • Ag Across America

    Ag Across America is an online geography game for grades 3-5. With this game, students will learn more about how farms provide our food, fiber, and energy.  The game guides students through a series of video and trivia questions about farms across the U.S. When you answer correctly, players collect items to have on their own virtual farm. Find more games and resources for young learners at My American Farm, and professional development opportunities for educators through On the Farm STEM.

  • Starting with Soil

    Soil is more than dirt under our feet. Students ages 7-9 can use this Starting with Soil app to learn about the organic materials that make up soil, and how plants and animals work together to make the soil that we depend on to grow food. With this app, developed by the Center for Ecoliteracy, students can simulate the 500-year process of making 1-inch of topsoil by planting seeds and building compost. The app can be accompanied with classroom instruction or students can use it on their own.

  • Plants Also Need Proper Nutrition

    Designed by the International Plant Nutrition Institute, these games for grades K-5 teach students about naturally occurring nutrients that plants use for food. Combined with this infographic poster, the games guide students to think more about how plants get their nutrients.

  • Can Plants Help Slow Soil Erosion?

    This activity from Scientific American called Can Plants Help Slow Soil Erosion? helps students learn how soil erosion causes ecological problems, pollutes waterways, and increases the risk of natural disasters. Students complete an experiment to test the impact of methods to prevent soil erosion.

  • Evolution of Organic: The Story of the Organic Movement Documentary

    This 86-minute documentary film, Evolution of Organic: The Story of the Organic Movement Documentary, tells the story of the growing organic agriculture movement. It shares insight into some of the most effective organic farming techniques and the people inspiring and building the movement. The documentary is divided into four acts that can be watched one after another or separately. The fourth act concludes with hope for the future of organic farming and offers advice for young people for ways to grow organic farming and carbon farming and sequester carbon dioxide.

  • Skype a Scientist

    The Skype a Scientist program matches more than 500 scientists with classrooms worldwide. Available for any level along the K-12 spectrum, a typical Q&A-style video chat lasts between 30 to 60 minutes and covers topics in the scientist’s area of expertise and what it’s like to be a scientist. Follow the link to browse scientists and sign up!

  • Mighty Mole and Super Soil – for Grades 1-3

    What creatures live in the ground and how do they help make the soil healthy? A book from Dawn Publications, Mighty Mole and Super Soil introduces children to an underground ecosystem that is largely invisible to humans but vital to the health of the planet. In this short story, children follow a mole as she digs tunnels, finds food, escapes predators, and raises a family, all the while aerating and enriching the soil around her. With Mighty Mole and Super Soil, students learn about the importance of soil and the often unseen ecosystems underground. To take student learning even further, try pairing the story with these activities from Dawn Publications based on the book.

  • USDA People’s Garden

    Gardening resources, grant information, and seasonal tips are available at the U.S. Department of Agriculture People’s Garden website.

  • Mineral Related Resources

    Free materials on mining and minerals for educators are available from the Mineral Information Institute. They include a PowerPoint presentation “The Importance of Minerals and Mining,” classroom demonstration ideas, one-page activities, and more.

  • NACD’s Soil Education Resources

    NACD had created multiple online resources to help learn and teach about the complexity of soil, and what it means to all of us. Check out their Dig Deeper Poster for a quick reference or dig into their 2012 Soil to Spoon Program or 2014 Mysteries in the Soil Programs.  

  • Web Soil Survey from the USDA

    This is a website that contains the web soil survey from the USDA.

  • Soil Explorers

    The Soil Explorers website, sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, is designed just for kids. Learn about the importance of soil, soil food webs, soil facts, and more. A brief assessment is even included to test soil knowledge.

  • Think Garden Video Series

    This Think Garden video collection was produced by Kentucky Educational Television for elementary students as a teaching tool about growing food and all elements around food gardening. Consider using it to support PLT GreenWorks! or GreenSchools projects as we enter the growing season.

  • Unlock the Secrets in the Soil

    Check out the collection of infographics from the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service! These infographics colorfully illustrate soil health: what soil is made of, what’s underneath, and what it does. 

  • SoilWeb

    A free app that can be downloaded onto Apple and Andriod devices. A more technical application, SoilWeb allows users to access GPS based, real-time USDA-NRCS soil survey data. Using your geographic location, this app retrieves soil type summaries, including soil series names and image profiles.

  • NACD’s Soil Education Resources

    Have a look at NACD’s soil resources: Soil to Spoon, Dig Deeper: Mysteries in the Soil, and Dig It: The Secrets of Soils. Existing tools feature a poster contest, student booklets, educator guides, and ideas for hands-on activities.

  • School Garden Checklist

    Planning to start a garden project? Download this step-by-step guide, provided by the Let’s Move! Presidential initiative, to ensure you won’t miss any information that could support the health of your garden. Detailed checklists offer tips about soil safety, site selection, overall design, plant palette, how to build and use the garden, and the importance of creating local partnerships and utilizing local resources.