Soil texture test

Activity

A simple sensory test to work out what type of soil you have, i.e. sand, loam, clay or silt.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science, Geography

Learning objectives

  • Learn about rock, weathering and soils
  • Practise working scientifically
  • Perform simple tests and report findings

Essential background information

Preparation

As this is a messy activity aprons may need to be worn to protect clothes.

Equipment needed

  • 3 dry soil samples which are mainly clay, mainly sand or loam in 3 containers labelled A, B and C
  • A bowl containing tap water
  • Hand washing facilities
  • Ruler
  • Instruction sheet for soil texture test
  • Wipe down surface

Step by step

  1. Introduce the concept that soils are made from rock fragments and that these fragments can be ‘felt’ by doing the soil texture test.
  2. Taking a sample from each of the three bowls follow the instructions on the soil texture test sheet and decide whether A, B and C soil samples are sand/clay or loam.
  3. Ask questions such as which soil type would they prefer to have in their garden and which soil would need to be watered more often.
  4. As well as the rock fragments, what other ingredients would there be in the garden soil outside?
  5. Wipe down surfaces and wash hands. A clay soil sticks to your fingers more than a sandy soil.
  6. Did they identify A, B and C correctly?

Hints & tips

  • Once learners have learnt the basic steps of how to assess their soil, go and collect different soil samples from around the garden.
  • Samples should be taken approximately 15cm below the surface.
  • Use this activity as part of Earth Matters and Grow Your Own Lunch class growing topics

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