Up Close with Soil

What can you find out by investigating the soil around you?

 Time to get your hands dirty! The best way to start learning about soil is to touch it, smell it, and observe it.
So go outside, find some soil, and check it out from a distance and up close.


Look around your school and neighborhood. Visualize and draw a soil map showing how soil is underneath everything you see, including buildings, roads, and sidewalks. 

Roll a piece of wet soil between your fingers. What happens? Does it stick together or fall apart? Why would this be helpful to know? 

Lie in the grass on your belly and peek under the plants to examine the soil.

Fill a clear container 2/3 full of soil. Add water. Mix and let it settle for 24 hours. What happens? What questions pop into your head?

Examine bare soil with no plants. How is it different from soil covered with plants? 

With permission, put a scoop of soil on a white plate or sidewalk. Examine it closely, using a hand lens. What, and who, is in this soil? What does it feel like? What does it smell like? Do this with soil from different locations.

Record Your Observations

In your Hero Journal, record your different soil observations. Include drawings, labels, descriptions, photos, and samples. You can organize your observations under three headings:

I Notice...

I Wonder...

It reminds me of...