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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Soil Investigators

Lesson Description:
Soilinvestigators In this activity students take a closer look at the soil in their garden, using a paper plate and magnifying glass.

Eco-fact: the average lawn has between 50 and 250 earthworms. These little critters help break down organic matter in our soil such as fallen leaves and trees.

  • With your students, select an area to examine the soil. scoop up one cup of soil and bring it back to class for a closer examination.
  • Once you are back in class, pour the dirt from the cup onto a paper plate.
  • Using a magnifying glass, examine the soil particles.
  • In their nature journals students can record their observations and answer questions such as:
    • How would you describe the texture of the soil?
    • What does the smell of the soil remind you of?
    • What colors do you see?
    • What size are the soil particles?
    • Ddd a drop of water to a pinch of soil.
    • Students can then record how the soil changed when water was added by answering questions such as:
    • How did the soil change when water was added to it?
    • What does it look like?
    • How does it feel?
  • On the page with their observations have the class glue a pinch of soil in their nature journals.

  • During their investigation, what else can the kids find in the soil? Critters? Worms? Creepy-crawlies? Have them draw pictures of them in their nature journals.

  • If students can identify the wildlife found in the soil, ask them to record their wildlife names, too.…
  • Students come up with some fun and original wildlife names of their own!

Lesson Type:
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Gardening

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Thumb Challenge

Time Needed:
30 minutes
Materials Needed:
plastic cup
paper plate
magnifying glass
nature journal
School or Group:
Contact Email:

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