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Discover Life in the Soil: Student Laboratory Kit

By: The Flinn Staff

With the Discover Life in the Soil Laboratory Kit for environmental science, be fascinated to find what is living in the upper layer of soil of your own school grounds or in your own neighborhood.

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Hundreds of species of organisms are living right under your feet! According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a single spadefull of rich garden soil contains more species of organisms than can be found above ground in the entire Amazon rain forest. Students will be fascinated to find what is living in the upper layer of soil on their school grounds or in their own neighborhood. First, a soil sample is collected and then placed in a Berlese–Tullgren apparatus to extract organisms from the sample. After a few days, students examine the extracted organisms under magnification. After each group identifies the various types of organisms in their sample, students compare the biodiversity and population density among different collected soil samples.

Complete for 30 students working in groups of three.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Using mathematics and computational thinking
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Engaging in argument from evidence

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
MS-LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
HS-LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
HS-LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience

Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns
Scale, proportion, and quantity
Structure and function

Performance Expectations

MS-LS2-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.