The Science of Soil: 20 Activities for Elementary School Kids – Classroom Skills | Team Cansler

Geography lessons are fun for kids! You can ask and answer questions about our beautiful planet through hands-on activities. But these lessons are not complete without some Earth-focused activities to be precise. Elementary school students seem to love getting dirty, so why not let them get down to business and learn about one of Earth’s amazing and underappreciated resources? Follow us for an amazing list of 20 fun and practical floor activity ideas.

1. Plant growth activity

This popular soil science project works for STEM trade shows or can be used for a long term investigation! Students can test soil nutrients to see if plants grow better in one type of soil than another. You can even test multiple soil types.

Learn more: Generation Genius

2. Analyze the soil composition

Help kids become soil scientists as they analyze the quality and composition of organic matter, distinguishing different soil qualities.

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3. Sid the Science Kid: Dirt on dirt

Younger students will love this series of videos as a standalone lesson or as part of a floor unit. These videos save teachers a lot of time and provide a great starting point for your STEM lessons on soil.

Find out more: PBS learning media

4. Soil composition lesson

This is a great classroom starter for Upper Elementary school students to teach learners how soil is made up of different things and is an important element in many aspects of everyday life.

Learn more here: PBS Learning Media

5. Level reading

Add these texts to your geography and soil lessons. Many people are not aware that healthy soil is important for everyday life. This reading is a great way to start your exploration of soil as it outlines the basis and importance of this often overlooked scientific topic.

More information: National Geographic

6. Interactive soil map by state

This digital soil resource outlines each state’s soil profile. This online tool gives soil properties for all fifty states, including what is grown, the correct name of the soil samples, fun facts and more!

More information: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

7. Soil Vocabulary

Give children the opportunity to learn concepts about soil by learning basic vocabulary with this easy-to-understand fact sheet for students. They need to understand the vocabulary so they understand the different layers of soil.

Learn more: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

8. What is our soil worth?

Perfect for whole-class teaching, this lesson plan features a variety of floor slides, a form for students, and a list of accompanying resources to help them kickstart their floor activity while the kids stay active!

Learn more: National Agriculture in the Classroom

9. Outdoor soil survey

Using innovative soil experiments and a field journal, this study tracks student data in real time so they can study this overlooked organic material. They will learn about soil quality, soil types and more with these fun and interactive easy soil science tests.

Find out more: Field Museum

10. Take a virtual field trip

The Underground Adventure exhibit is a great introduction to the earth. Use this link as a way for students to take a virtual field trip to learn why this organic material is so important. Add it to a floor choice board for students to choose which activities they want to complete.

Find out more: Field Museum

11. Celebrate World Soil Day

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has compiled this short list of six soil activity models to do with your students to celebrate World Soil Day. You could add these fun experiments to your ground science unit!

Learn more: Food and Agriculture Organization

12. Dirt detectives

This simple and effective activity requires only a few tablespoons of soil from different locations and a student lab worksheet for students to use to record their results. You could even use this on a soil activity selection board where kids can become scientists studying the soil.

Learn more: PBS Kids

13. Soil Basics

Have students use this website to do preliminary research on soil. From layers of soil to quality and everything in between, this site offers a variety of basic information to help students learn more about this organic material.

Learn more: Soil Science Society of America

14. Use charts

This website features a variety of helpful charts to help students learn about and guide students through all layers of ground activity that you may offer. Students can learn the constituents of soil simply by visiting this website before doing a soil experiment. To keep the content memorable, have them create their own diagrams in groups.

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15. Edible soil layers

This delicious and interactive lesson gives kids a “cup of earth” that really helps them visualize (and taste) the layers of earth that make up the crust. Of all the earth activities, this will probably be the most memorable for students because let’s face it, kids love to eat!

More information: Learning Resources

16. Soil Sampling Stations

Floor STEM activities work best when children are able to move to keep busy. So why not get kids to get up and move around the room with soil sampling stations? This soil lesson helps children understand the variety of soil types and although labeled as middle school, it is appropriate for upper elementary school simply by changing the standards.

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17. Soil Texture Shaker

When it comes to soil labs, this one has to be on your list. Combine soil samples found in your area with the required liquids and watch the solution settle before analyzing the composition.

Learn more: Teagasc

18. Use soil test kits

Purchase soil test kits for another soil lab experiment and have students bring a soil sample from home. It will help them understand soil characteristics and tell them what soil types are common in their area.

Learn more: Teaching AP Science

19. Soil Life Survey

Many soil lessons focus on the soil itself, but this one in particular focuses on the life (or lack of life) found in the soil. Let students discover the vitality of soil at school with a soil life survey.

Learn more: Children’s ABCs

20. Create a wormer

Whether you have 1st graders, 3rd graders, or anyone in between, engage learners’ interest in soil by building a worm farm using a typical glass container. Have your students observe the worms daily and write down what they observe.

Learn more: Children’s ABCs

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