Soil statistics

Information sheet

Use the example of an apple cut into sections to demonstrate how much of the Earth can be used for farming and growing food crops

  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Maths, Science, Geography, Social Studies

Apple demonstration

  • Cut the apple into quarters. The earth is 1/4 land (25%), the remaining 3/4 is water (75%)
  • Cut the land quarter in half. One part is mountains, desert or covered in ice 1/8 of total (12.5%)
  • Cut the other land piece into quarters. Each is 1/32 of the total (3.1%). These areas are too rocky, wet, infertile or covered by buildings and roads
  • Peel the skin off the remaining 1/32 of the apple (3.1%). The skin reresents the topsoil, which is suitable for growing food crops for the whole world (less than 1%).

So there is only a small area of the earth where food crops can be successfully grown. Use a pie chart or graph to represent these soil stastics.


How much soil does the earth have that can be used for food growing?

3/4 of the earth is covered by water
1/8 of the earth is covered by swamp, desert, mountains or ice
1/32 of the earth is too rocky
1/32 of the earth is too hot
1/32 of the earth is too wet 
1/32 is all that is left and it is only the top layer (peel) that represents the amount of top soil available to grow food crops for the whole world.

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