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Super Soil


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    Lawrence Hall of Science

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Super Soil

In this outdoor activity, learners make their own organic-rich soil. Depending on where this activity is done, learners will probably discover that their local soil is low in organic matter. Then they will determine how much organic matter (compost, manure, or leaf mold) they must add to the local soil to match the organic content of a commercial soil mix. Background information discusses soil as a mixture of water, air, minerals, organic matter and living organisms, and explains more about organic matter in soil and its necessity in agriculture and gardening. The "Branching Out" section encourages learners to followup by planting seeds or seedlings of easy edible plants such as peas, beans, lettuce and Swiss chard.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
1 to 2 hours

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan

Language:
English

Materials List (per group of students)


  • clear plastic vials about 1" in diameter and 2" high
  • digging tools (spoons or trowels)
  • cups of commercial garden mix
  • cups of organic material (manure, compost, peat moss, leaf mold)
  • waterproof pen
  • alum powder
  • paper towels
  • 4 liters of water or a water source
  • extra vials
  • vegetable seedlings or seeds (optional)
  • half-gallon milk cartons (optional)

Subjects


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Rocks and Minerals
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Viruses and Bacteria
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Human Impact
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemistry of Life
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories


  • Outdoor Activity
  • Gardening
  • Nature and Environment
  • Physical Activity

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • be mobile
  • smell
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

Rights:

  • All Rights Reserved, The Regents of the University of California, ©1979

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