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With the Physical and Chemical Properties of Soil Student Laboratory Kit for environmental science, explore how the physical and chemical properties of soil impact soil quality in a fun, two-part investigation.

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Healthy soil provides structure and nutrients for plant growth and is a vital component of the hydrologic (water) cycle. Explore how the physical and chemical properties of soil impact soil quality with this two-part investigation. First students determine soil texture—the relative amounts of sand, silt and clay—by measuring the amount of each that settles out of a soil “solution” after definite time intervals. The texture of soil influence how coarse or fine the soil is, its porosity and permeability and the capacity to bind and store nutrients. Then students analyze the chemical properties of soil by measuring the pH and testing for the presence of essential macronutrients, nitrate and phosphate ions. The nutrient levels are evaluated for soil fertility and their environmental impact on surface or groundwater contamination. Great for understanding why soil is an essential natural resource! Includes reproducible student handouts, detailed background information, complete Teacher Notes with sample data and answers to all questions and all chemicals and consumable supplies needed to perform the lab.  

Complete for 30 students working in pairs.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Engaging in argument from evidence

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-ESS3.A: Natural Resources
HS-ESS3.A: Natural Resources

Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns
Cause and effect
Systems and system models
Structure and function
Stability and change

Performance Expectations

MS-ESS1-4: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s 4:6-billion-year-old history.
HS-ESS1-6: Apply scientific reasoning and evidence from ancient Earth materials, meteorites, and other planetary surfaces to construct an account of Earth’s formation and early history.