Sunday, April 19, 2009

Does all soil have the Same Ingredients?

Purple Environmental Sunday

Wow! Only three more days until Earth Day, Weds, April 22. With Spring being here and Earth Day near I thought a soil project would be a good thing to do.

Does all soil have the same ingredient mixture?

What you will need:
  1. a quart jar with a lid
  2. earth from different places, including a purchased potting soil mix.
  3. crayons of various colours
  4. water

Before you begin your experiments, write in your journal what you think will happen during the experiment.

What to do:

  1. Fill the jar about 2/3 full of water.
  2. Add soil from one sample until the jar is almost full. (use the potting soil in the last experiment)
  3. Screw on the top.
  4. Shake the container well.
  5. Put the container on a flat counter.
  6. Wait one hour.
  7. Sand goes to the bottom first.
  8. Silt settles down next.
  9. Clay particles are smaller and lighter, so they settle down last.
  10. You can see the layers in your jar.
  11. Draw a picture of this using your coloured crayons.
  12. Label the picture.
  1. Empty the jar outside.
  2. Wash it out.
  3. Now use the soil from your second sample.
  4. You might have collected this soil from a different part of town, perhaps when you were visiting a friend or a relative.
  5. If the friend or relative has a lovely garden that they would let you take soil from all the better for this test.
  6. Remember to ask permission first though.
  7. Repeat the test you did earlier.
  8. Draw another picture, this time of the results of the test you just did.
  9. Label it.
Then prepare for the last experiment.
  1. Empty the jar outside.
  2. Wash it out.
  3. Then repeat the experiment again with the last soil sample. (this is the experiment you will do with the potting soil)
  4. What happens?
  5. Draw a picture of the results.
  6. Label the picture.

After the 3 experiments are completed enter into your journal what you think about the results of the 3 experiments.
What happened that you did not think would happen?
What was the most noticeable difference in the 3 tests?
There are 3 basic soil ingredients: clay, silt and sand. Were you able to see all three in each of your experiments?
What role do you think each plays in growing plants?
Follow up tho the Snail project:
Here are some snail projects you can do while you are caring for and observing your snails.

  • Keep a journal of what your snails eat.
  • Are there things they won't eat?
  • Try carrots, potatoes or a tiny piece of meat?
  • Are there things they seem to like more than other things?
  • Where do they like to sleep?
  • When are they active?
  • When are they inactive?
  • How long does it take them to eat something that you have place in their bio-home?
  • Why do you think farmers dislike snails and slugs?
  • Collect some empty snail shells from the garden.
  • Can you find any with the same markings? Snail shells are like fingerprints, no two are exactly alike.
  • Put all the shells in a row according to the number of whorls. Can you find what looks like a very old snail? The oldest snails have about five whorls.

If you introduce a slug into the bio-home compare the differences between the snails and the slug.

  • Do they eat different things?
  • Are there things they both like?
  • Are they active at the same time?

I have been watching Sienna and Ebony all week. Ebony definitely has a tangerine peel tooth!
I have placed apples, tangerine peels and egg shells on the dirt and I find him on the tangerine peels every night. I thought it might be cool to introduce a slug and some worms into the bio environment to compare what each one eats and how differently they each live.
While the snails sleep during the day and are active at night, the slug seems to be active anytime he is in shade. He also seems a lot less picky about what he eats.
I would have thought there would not be so much difference between them besides the having and not having a shell.


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