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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Seeds in Different Soils Experiment

Lesson Description:
In this activity students test different types of soil to determine which is best for growing plants.

  1. The class may begin by cutting off the top of their egg cartons to use as a soil-testing tray. Be sure to save the egg carton cover.
  2. To provide proper drainage for each plant, have each student poke a few holes in the bottom of each egg carton cup. Then turn the egg carton cover over, like a tray, and place the egg cups inside. This will help contain the water that drains from the egg carton cups. 
  3. Next, students can fill four of egg carton cups with only compost, four cups with a mixture of half compost and half sand, and fours cups with just sand. Label each section with the marker with the type of soil mixture.
  4. Students can begin planting the seeds by poking a small hole with their finger in the center of each cup, placing two seeds in each hole. 
  5. Once the seeds have been planted, place the egg carton in a warm, sunny location, making sure to mist each cup with at least three squirts of water daily. 
  6. Meanwhile, students can create a chart in their Nature Journals. See the sample Seeds and Soils chart provided below. Each week students can observe their plants and record their findings on the chart. Students should include the following: 
    • Number of seed sprouts in each soil type 
    • Sprout height 
    • Sprout color 
    • Number of leaves currently


Date Compost Soil Soil and Compost

       7.    After completing the experiment, move the plants into a larger pot so that they have room to grow. Make sure
              the plants have grown at least six leaves.

Lesson Type:
  • Experiment

Sustainability Topic:
  • Ecosystems
  • Gardening

GEF Program Category:
  • Waste Reduction Challenge
  • Green Energy Challenge
  • Green Thumb Challenge

Time Needed:
50 Minutes plus time for growing
School or Group:
Contact Email:
Located in: Science | Science | Science | Science

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