How Are Soils Classified?

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In this activity about soil (page 7 of the PDF), learners will use their sense of touch as well as sight to understand how soil is classified based on texture and other details. They will compare sandy, silt, and clay soil and learn to distinguish among them. Though this activity is included as a post-visit for a workshop about erosion, it also makes an excellent stand-alone activity!

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
4 to 24 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • sandy soil
  • silty soil
  • clay soil
  • magnifying glass
  • water


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
    • Earth Structure
      • Rocks and Minerals
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access