Soil Properties—We Dig Dirt!

This week it may have looked like we had a great time playing with dirt, but we were actually studying soil! Our young soil scientists learned about geological, biological, and topographical factors that contribute to soil formation over hundreds and thousands of years. Ask your student about the role that microorganisms play in soil formation or to explain how soil can be a solid, a gas, and a liquid.

In our activity, students examined different soils. They noticed that soil colors relate to what is in the soil, for instance, dark brown and black soils tend to contain lots of broken down organic material. Students also observed the texture of the soils, noting that some soils contain smaller particles than others. Finally, students measured field capacity, which tells us how well soils can hold water. All of these factors (color, texture, and water retaining ability) are important in determining how good a soil might be for growing plants. Have your student help you look more closely at the soil in your own yard or park!

We need to protect our soil because it is important to every living organism on earth. Healthy soil allows plants to grow, and plants are essential to life along our entire food chain. Soil also helps filter out impurities (e.g., acid rain, industrial wastes) before they can reach our water supplies. The student follow-up activity illustrates the filtering abilities of soil using dark colored grape Kool-Aid. Give it a try with your student and prepare to appreciate our soils even more!


Características del Suelo: ¡jugando con tierra!

Esta semana lo pasamos excelente ¡jugando con tierra! Es importante aclarar que los científicos se refieren a lo que llamamos coloquialmente “tierra”, como  “suelo”.  Nuestros jóvenes científicos aprendieron sobre los factores ecológicos, biológicos y topológicos que contribuyen a la formación del suelo a lo largo de cientos y miles de años. Pregúntele a su hijo o hija cual es el rol que juegan los microorganismos en la formación del suelo, o pídale que le explique cómo el suelo puede ser un sólido, un gas y un líquido.

En la actividad de esta semana, los estudiantes examinaron distintos  tipos de suelo. Observaron las diferencias entre los tipos de suelo y fueron capaces de relacionar el color del suelo con respecto a sus contenidos. Por ejemplo, las tierras de color café y negras generalmente contienen material orgánico descompuesto. Los estudiantes también apreciaron las diferentes texturas de los tipos de suelo; ciertos tipos contienen partículas más pequeñas que otros. Finalmente, los alumnos examinaron si las muestras de suelo eran capaces de absorber agua. Todos estos factores (color, textura y habilidad para absorber agua) son muy importantes a la hora de determinar si el suelo está en las condiciones adecuadas para el cultivo de plantas. Haga que su hijo o hija le ayude a examinar el suelo de su propio patio o parque.

Necesitamos proteger nuestro suelo porque es sumamente importante para cada organismo de nuestro planeta. Un suelo sano favorece el crecimiento de las plantas, las cuales a su vez son fundamentales para la vida a lo largo de toda nuestra cadena alimentaria. El suelo también ayuda a filtrar las impurezas (como la lluvia ácida y los desechos industriales) antes de que éstas lleguen a nuestros suministros de agua. En la actividad de seguimiento, los estudiantes podrán observar la habilidad del suelo para filtrar impurezas, usando jugo en polvo de color oscuro (Koolaid de uva). Los invitamos a realizar la actividad con su hija o hijo y así aprendemos a apreciar nuestro suelo un poco más!


Lauren Koppel

Lauren earned a Bachelor’s degree with a double major of Biology and Psychology from Clark University, and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her undergraduate years, she worked in a evolutionary neurobiology lab that studied the neural development of annelids (marine worms), with a focus on the sox family of genes. Lauren loves learning about how the world works (including everything from biology to chemistry to engineering), and is passionate about sharing that knowledge and enthusiasm with others. In the past, she has interned at the Museum of Science, where she educated learners of all ages through hands-on activities, games, and experiments. Other science education organizations with which Lauren has worked include The People’s Science, EurekaFest, and Eureka! of Girls Inc. of Worcester. Currently she lives in Boston, where devotes her free time to playing Quidditch, reading sci-fi novels, playing her ukulele, and enjoying all the culinary delights the city has to offer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Open 7 days INFO
Our Young Pre classroom is for ages. This age group is working