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Soil Sampling
Examining Soil Experiment
Materials you will need:

• 5/6 drinks bottles with lids
• Spoon or shovel
• Magnifying glass
• Labels or paper
• Marker Pen

Movement of soil.

Rocks are broken down by weathering and erosion. After rocks are broken down, the smaller pieces may be carried away. They are transported and deposited to a new location.

The broken pieces of rock can vary in size from large rocks to smaller pieces of gravel, sand or clay.

In what ways can these smaller pieces of rock be transported to another place?

. Landslides
. Erosion
. Weather
. Wind
. Water

Let’s see how many different soil samples you can find to have good look at:

  • Start by collecting some soil from your back yard.
  • Do you have a sand box in your yard or at a playground near to you or you may even live near a beach?
  • When visiting near a lake or by a pond collect some of the soil from those places.
  • When on holiday collect some soil samples from the different areas that you visit.
  • Try to collect some soil from a mountain area.

Now that you have a few soil samples label the bottles up as ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’ etc...


Have a good look at each one using a magnifying glass.




What can you notice that is different about each soil sample? Write down the differences that you can see.

Write down where you think each of the soil samples have come from and why you may think this.


  • Are all the soil particles the same size?
  • Which soil contains more water?
  • Are there any black bits in your soil samples?
  • Which soil contains more humus?
  • Which soil will hold the most water?
  • Which soil would seeds grow better in?

Did you know that there are dead plants and animals bits in soil? Plants and animals will decay to form a soft black or brown organic substance which is called humus. This provides nutrients for plants and increases the ability of soil to retain water.

Items you will need:

Your different soil samples (‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’...)
A funnel
A spoon
Several clear plastic drinks bottles (recycled; clean and dry) and lids



  • Pour some of your sample soil into one of the drinks bottles. If you have a funnel put it in the opening of the drinks bottle to help direct the soil into the bottle (I used a piece of paper shaped into a funnel or cone shape - which worked really well).
  • Fill the bottle with water leaving a gap at the top, screw the lid onto the bottle and shake it up to mix the soil and water. Have a good look at the mixture and write down what you see. Do the same with your other soil samples and write down what you see.

    Here are ours after shaking :


  • Leave the mixtures to stand for a few hours then have another good look at them and write down what you see.

    These are ours after 24 hours :


  • Compare your notes from the previous day to 24 hours later - what differences do you see?

Click here for more information on soil

Here are some of our results - see if they are the same as yours:

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