Study a Square Yard of Soil
activity exercisesuggested grade levels: 5-12

view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Even a piece of soil as small as a square yard will furnish you many surprises. Try picking many different places for your "square yard" and comparing them. You will be studying ecology when you do this.

1 square yard of soil tape measure magnifying glass

1. Use a tape measure to mark off one square yard of soil. It might be in the woods, in a meadow, or in your own backyard.
2. Examine first the animals, trees and other vegetation, and climate of the area. You can make some good guesses about what to expect when you look at your "yard" more closely.
3. Now come down to the surface of the soil. Look at what is above the soil: insects, decaying organic material such as leaves, flowers, etc.
4. Next dig into the soil, observing as you dig the layers of humus and clay and the rocks. You will probably find earthworms and burrowing insects if you look closely. What do you see through the magnifying glass?

Related Lesson Topics:
Geology: Geology Topics

Lesson Plan provided by Dr. Helen Challand and Elizabeth Brandt with permission from Science Activities from A to Z, illustrations by Herb Rudd, 2000
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: