Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Soil in a Cup

*I'm pretty sure I found this experiment somewhere on Pinterest... This was NOT my original idea!

My 1st graders needed to learn about soil, so I composed this lesson to help them learn about it in a more hands-on way:

First, we watched the Brainpop, Jr. video over soil to introduce the various layers of soil.

I'd been planning on doing this cute little "soil in a cup" activity with each student; my original plan was to let the students each make their own, and then they could eat it at the end of class. {Who doesn't love making things with food and then eating it?!}

Unfortunately, the state of Texas has cracked down on nutrition laws. While we ARE allowed to eat things in class if it directly correlates with the lesson, my admin didn't want to take a chance...particularly since I see half of my 1st grade classes before lunch, and all of the contents of our "soil cup" weren't actually healthy.

Bah, humbug.

My classes ended up making one soil cup per table. We drew a picture of it, its ingredients, and what each of those ingredients represents in our notebooks, and I just told the students that they could make it at home since they have the recipe now. :)


I kept things pretty simple for my firsties:

Marshmallows = bedrock, since it's chunky.
Cheerios = subsoil
Crushed graham crackers = topsoil
Gummy worm = living organism(s)

We talked about how the color wasn't going to be exactly correct because of allergy and financial issues, but that each ingredient at least had the main texture of the layer it was representing.

We also brainstormed different ingredients that we could use to represent each of the layers. A lot of students suggested using peanuts for the bedrock, which was a FABULOUS idea, and I had to explain to them that we couldn't do that in class because I have too many friends that have peanut allergies. But the discussion one what other substitutions we could make was inspiring; they had lots of great ideas!

Three weeks later, my kids STILL talk about this activity, so I think it was a hit. :)


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