Here you will find all of the work we have done on our unit covering Soil in the Environment.  I will try to include a brief explanation of the lesson, as well as any worksheets we have used.

Lesson 1




We started our unit by looking at an image depicting several uses of soil.  In small groups we made a list of all of these uses we could find.  We then added our personal ideas to our list.  From there we merged our list with the lists put together by the other groups.  Once our master list was compiled we took the ideas and made a title page for our new unit.


Lesson 2

What is in soil?




At the start of class we held a discussion on the importance of listening to instructions and how it relates to safety.  The reason we did so was because today was an experiment day.  We paired up and were given a pile of soil.  We were to carefully search through the soil, exploring with a magnifying glass and sorting the contents into piles.  We documented out findings on a lab sheet.



Lesson 3

How is Soil Made?




Today's class started with some extra time to finish up our questions from our previous lesson.  When we were done we read through some information to compliment our previous experiment.  We learned that there are four components of soil; air, water, rocks and humus.  Humus is decaying plant and animal matter.  We then related this knowledge to what we had discovered by looking through the soil on our own.

Worksheet               Answers


Lesson 4

All About Soil






This lesson was used to help us learn the importance of taking our time, and reviewing information.  We were given a page of information about soil, which discussed how different things contribute to the formation of soil.  We were instructed to read the paper, and when we felt we knew the information we were to turn the paper over to do a "quiz" (we were informed that the quiz was not for marks).  Upon turning over the paper we found it very difficult to answer the questions, as most of us rushed to go our reading.  After we struggled for a few minutes we discussed the importance of taking our time, and re-reading information.  We were then allowed to turn our page back over to read it again before continuing.  At the end of class we took up the answers and talked about the key points.

Worksheet               Answers


Lesson 5

Comparing Soil




We started the lesson by reviewing the safety precautions necessary when working with soil.  After reading through our experiment sheet we obtained three different soil samples.  Our task for today was to describe these samples, in terms of colour, texture, smell and any other observation we discovered.  There were questions on our worksheet, however there was not enough time today to complete them.  They will be saved for the next two classes.



Lesson 6

Separating Soil





Today we did not continue our previous experiment.  We had to start a new experiment because this new experiment takes requires a 24 hour break between two of the steps.  for the experiment today, we are going to use water to separate soil into it's components.  We read through our experiment procedure, then gathered all of our supplies.  Working as a team we made a mixture of soil and water in a 2 L jar.  We then shock the jar causing the soil and water to mix.  We made some observations, and then we were at the point where we had to wait at least 24 hours before continuing.  To fill the rest of the time in today's class, we continued to work on our Comparing Soil experiment.



Lesson 7

Comparing / Separating Soil Finish Up



When we came in to class today we were able to complete our observations on our separating soil experiment.  We noticed that there were three very distinct layers in our soil, the sand, the clay and the silt.  During today's class we finished up any incomplete work on both the Comparing Coil and Separating Soil experiments

Note:  The jar for the Separating Soil experiment ended up getting left over the Christmas break.  When we returned the water on the top was crystal clear!


Lesson 8








We reviewed the components of soil, rocks (sand, clay and silt), water, air and humus, to start today's class.  We then did another soil experiment.  The experiment today was to look at water drainage.  In order for plants to grow properly in soil there must be a balance of air and water, today's experiment will help show us how different types of soil hold water.  After reading through our experiment sheet we gathered our supplies and tested three types of soil.  The soil was put in a coffee filter, which was placed in a funnel on top of a graduated cylinder.  Water was then poured on top of the soil.  We then measured the water that drained through the soil.

Our results were quite confusing, as Loam is supposed to be very good for growing plants, yet it drained nearly all of the water.  We talked about experimental error, and the possibility that what we thought was loam was actually another composition of soil.



Lesson 9





Today we had a look at our classroom green bin.  We discussed the contents and what will happen to them after they leave the school (turned into soil).  We then read through some information about composting and answered some questions to show our understanding.  On our worksheet there was instructions as to how we could make out own compost pile at home if we wanted to do so.

Worksheet               Answers


Lesson 10

Summary of Soil Information






We used today's class to create a study sheet for our soils quiz.  We were shown a single sided piece of paper and informed that the quiz will be very similar to this paper.  We then worked to find the information to fill in our study sheet.  When we were complete we discussed the answers as a class and were given time to correct our work.  When we were done we got together with a partner and quizzed each other in preparation for our quiz.

Worksheet               Answers

Quiz - We will be having a quiz at the start of lesson 13.  Today a note went home with all of the quiz concepts.  Make sure you study your sheet from today.



Lesson 11

Planting Seeds




We have studied the properties of soil, and read about different types.  Now it is time to see what soil can do.  Today we took three different soils (sand, "cheap" potting soil, and seed started mix) and planted radish seeds in them.  What we are doing is comparing how well the different soils can grow the seeds.  We will have to monitor the seeds over the next few weeks, making observations and being sure the soil stays moist.



Lesson 12




Today's lesson was done as an independent task.  We were given a worksheet and left to ourselves.  The task involved reading about plant roots, then we were to answer some questions.  When we finished we were encouraged to discuss our answers with a peer.

Worksheet               Answers


Lesson 13



We used today's class to write our soils quiz.  When we were finished we took the opportunity to finish up any incomplete work.


Lesson 14

Seeds 2




It had been a week since we planted our seeds, and they were growing incredibly.  We used today's lesson to document the growth to date by filling in the appropriate section of our worksheet that we received a week ago.  When we were done we were given a new worksheet and told to read through the information.  This worksheet was all about ants, the front was a bunch of information and the back was questions based on that information.

Ants Worksheet               Ants Answers


Lesson 15

Ants and Marmots




We started today by finishing up our ant information questions.  We then did a similar activity involving the Vancouver Island Marmot.  During class today it was explained to us that we will read about one more burrowing animal, the mole.  However, the task will be different next time.  When we are in our next class we will have information on the internet to read.  We will then take the role of the teacher and we will author the worksheets.  The details will be explained next class.

Marmots Worksheets               Marmots Answers


Lesson 16





Today we went to the computer lab to read about moles.  When we were done our job was to make up four questions about moles.  One of those questions had to be about moles and soil.  We then typed our questions, added a picture (if we had time) and printed the worksheet we had just made.  Our worksheet were then collected and re-distributed to other students.  Our homework tonight is to do the worksheet that was made by one of our peers.



Lesson 17

Seeds 3




It was now two weeks since we planted our seeds, and it was time to finish up the experiment.  We followed the same procedure as before to take our observations (which were surprising), and when we were done we used the rest of class to answer the discussion questions from our experiment sheet.  At the end of class it was explained to us that we will be using the next week of classes to write a letter.  This letter will be directed to the company that makes the seed starter mix, the details of the letter can be found in our next lesson.


Lesson 18









Now that we are done with growing our seeds, we are taking the experiment to the next level.  As it turns out, the cheap, no-name, potting soil can grow seeds just as well as the much more expensive, fancy, seed starter mix.  We started today writing letters to the seed starter company.  The letter was to be written in our standard, grade 3, format, and was to include the following:
  1. The purpose of our experiment (what did we want to find out?)
  2. The procedure from our experiment (what did we do?)
  3. The controls in our experiment (how did we make it fair?)
  4. The results from our experiment.
  5. A question to the seed starter company, asking them to justify their prices.

We used 3 periods to write this letter.  The first period was a lot of explaining, and brainstorming.  The second period was for our rough copy, and the third period was for edits and our good copy.


Lesson 19

Soil Additives


We started today by reviewing the contents of soil.  We then thought about all of the other things that can be found in soil (twigs, bugs, animals, etc.)  We were then divided into 4 groups and each group was given a small piece of writing about something else that can be found in soil.  Each group summarized the information and prepared a short presentation for the class about what they had read.

Pesticides               Herbicides               Salt               Fertilizer


Lesson 20

Human Effect







A "chain of events" is a list of things where each one depends on the previous.  This was the concept we were taught at the start of class.  We then sat down by ourselves and started to write out a chain of events starting with "Humans damage soil by adding things to it that remove nutrients."  After a while by ourselves we brought our ideas to a small group, in which our ideas were combined into a more detailed chain of events.  At the end of class all of the groups came together and we again combined our ideas into a full class chain of events.

During today's class we were told that we will be writing a test next week.  We were given a review sheet with all of the things that we have learned about soils.



Lesson 21

 Finish-Up / Take-Up


The first thing we did today was to organize all of the papers in our science folder.  Once they were stapled together we were to use the period to finish up any incomplete work.  Also, the answer keys for each of the sheets was laid out around the room.  We took our booklet and cycled around to be sure our answers were all correct.


Lesson 22






We used today's period to review for our test next class.  The review sheet (lesson 18), and the actual test were used to make questions for a game to help us study.  The first game we played was a true/false game.  We were read a sentence and then had to move to a "T" sign, or a "F" sign.  We then had to explain why we went there.  We later worked together to come up with answers to some more in depth questions.  We were told to remember to add detail to our answers so that we can obtain full marks on our test.

Practise Questions


Lesson 23



Today we wrote out unit test on Soils in the Environment.  We were not quite done after one period, so we had the opportunity to continue it during our next class.



This concludes our unit on Soils in the Environment.  Our next unit is Growth and Changes in Plants.