Teaching your homeschoolers all about soil can have so many benefits. If you haven’t done so already, snag my free All About Soil Printable Pack to go with this free unit study. Your kids will learn a variety of facts about soil and why it’s important that we take care of it for our environment.
All About Soil Unit Study
What is soil?
Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life. The earth’s soil is called the pedosphere and has four primary functions. It:
- assists with plant growth.
- helps water supply, storage, and purification.
- modifies the Earth’s atmosphere.
- is a habitat for organisms.
Soil is commonly referred to as dirt and can have a variety of textures, smells, and looks. Depending on where you live, the soil in your area may be softer, darker, and have a specific smell.
What is soil made of?
In a nutshell, the Earth’s soil is made up mainly of mineral particles, organic materials, air, water, and living organisms. Some of the mineral particles you’ll find in soil are silt, sand, and clay. Each of these minerals represents their own size class. For example, a clay mineral called smectite can shrink and swell so much when it gets wet (and dry) that it can knock over buildings. The most commonly found and talked about mineral in soils is quartz. It makes beautiful crystals but it is not very reactive.
Different Types of Soil
Sandy soil consists of small particles of weathered rock. These soils are one of the poorest types of soil for growing plants because it has very low nutrients. They also do not hold water very well, making it hard for plants to absorb water. Sandy soil is typically made by the breaking down of rocks such as granite, quartz, and limestone.
Silt soil has much smaller particles compared to sandy soil. It’s made up of rock and other minerals but is still smaller than particles found in clay. Silt is really easy to transport simply by the water currents. You can find this type of soil near rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water.
Clay is the smallest particle compared to the other two types of soil. The particles in this soil are tightly packed together with very little (or no) airspace. This soil has very good water storage making it hard for moisture and air to penetrate into it. It can be very sticky to the touch when wet but feels smooth when dried.
Loamy soil is a combination of sand, silt, and clay and it carries the benefits of having all three combined. Because of this, it is one of the most suitable soils for farming and gardening. It also has higher calcium and pH levels because of its inorganic origins.
A Look at Differents Types of Soil
Below are a few videos that will help your kids see what different types of soil and soil layers looks like. Have them take notes or use the free printable pack that goes with this post.
Layers of Soil
Different Types & Importance of Soil
Experiment with Soil
Free All About Soil Printable Pack
As I mentioned earlier, I have a free All About Soil printable pack to share with you. It’s packed with several worksheets to help your kids learn all types of things about soil. The following printables are in this pack:
- Soil Layers
- What is Soil Made Of?
- Soil Investigatin
- Soil Layers on Earth
- Layers of Soil Identification
- Potting Soil Word Search Puzzle
As you lead your kids on an adventure of learning all about soil, remember to include some hands-on experiments like collecting different types of soil in a jar or growing something in a bottle. Here are a few experiments to check out:
Use this free all about soil unit study to teach your kids all about the ground beneath them. Don’t forget to download your free printable pack of worksheets to go along with your studies!