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We've Got the Dirt!
Students will be able to identify and describe the different types of soil.
- Explain to students that today they will be learning about the different types of soil.
- Give each student a copy of the first page of the Types of Soil worksheet.
- Read aloud, or have volunteers read aloud, the worksheet, pausing after each type to discuss.
- On the board or a piece of chart paper, make a graph with 3 rows labeled 1, 2, and 3 and 3 columns labeled "Particle Size?", "Feels?", and "Dries?"
- Divide students into pairs or small groups.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Explain that the groups will be observing the 3 soil samples for particle size, texture, and how it holds water.
- Demonstrate using the hand lens, model observing particle size of a given sample.
- Explain the difference between clumps and particles, and model breaking a clump down into particles.
- Demonstrate rubbing a small amount of soil between your thumb and forefinger and describe what the students might feel using vocabulary from the worksheet.
- Demonstrate dropping one small drop of water into the soil sample and observe with the hand lens.
- Describe the changes to the soil and how quickly the water absorbs, runs off, or dries.
Guided Practice(20 minutes)
- Give each group a paper plate and have one of the students divide it into thirds and number each section.
- Give each group a dropper, water and a hand lens.
- Give each group a cup with the first kind of soil, sand, in it. Do not tell them what type of soil is in the cup.
- Have each student examine the sample with the hand lens, breaking up clumps with the tooth pick.
- Discuss the students' observations and record them on the chart.
- Have the students rub the soil between their fingers and record their observations on the chart.
- Have the students drop one drop of water onto the sample and observe it with the hand lens.
- Record their observations on the chart.
- Repeat this procedure with the other 2 samples.
Independent working time(10 minutes)
- Have the students put their materials away or to the side.
- Ask each group to participate in a conversation to discuss the observations recorded on the chart and to compare them to the information in the worksheet.
- Have the groups decide which type of soil is in each numbered cup.
- During their conversation, encourage students to build on each other's comments or link their comments. Provide some of the following sentence frames:
- "I agree with ____ because..."
- "I disagree with ____ because..."
- "What you said made me think about...."
- Model using the sentence frames in each group during their conversations as you circulate the room.
- Allow each group member to share their ideas.
- Ask a spokesperson or volunteer from each group to tell the class the name of each sample and to explain how the group came to that conclusion.
- Enrichment: Rather than a teacher created chart, let advanced learners create their own record keeping document. Have them repeat this activity with soil samples collected at home or at school.
- Support: Place struggling students in a group with an adult or strong peer leader. Divide the sample observations into 3 separate, shorter activities.
- Complete the second page of the Types of Soil worksheet.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Have students tell each other in their groups the descriptions of the types of soil.
- Encourage students to build onto each other's comments as each student shares aloud to the whole class.