Getting kids in the garden is a great way to make science REAL! It is one thing to read a bunch of books and articles about plants, their needs, adaptations, and environments, but it is another thing to physically DO and LEARN about these things.
Although there are a bunch of AMAZING teachers in our schools, I find that often, hands-on science experiments are not as present in my children’s daily education as I would hope for.
We as PARENTS need to make TIME to provide our children with these experiments. So, grab your gloves and head outdoors for these 2 easy to do experiments with SOIL!
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Common Core Connection:
Garden Science SOIL: Common Core Connection
- Kindergartners learn how to use their five senses and develop science vocabulary.
- First graders should know both science content and process. They learn about plants and animals and their environments, as well as adaptations and survival.
- Looking ahead, students in middle school are required to follow precisely a multistage procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
We as parents can support and extend what our children are learning at school with science fun at home.
Soil Experiments are the best done in your early, beginning phases of gardening. Your local garden center can best recommend the soil amendments necessary based on the results of your “It’s not just DIRT” and “What’s My PH?” experiments.
Soil Experiment 1: It’s not just DIRT!
(Easy for ALL AGES)
We often think of dirt as the stuff that comes in on our shoes. It makes carpets dirty! But SOIL is different. Most of the food we eat is grown in soil. Soil is very important.
- Kids Garden Gloves
- Soil from your garden
- Kid’s Shovel
- Magnifying Glass Magnifier or Microscope
Directions for Garden Science Soil Experiment #1
1. Scoop up some soil into a container. (soil sampling)
2. Identify the different components that they can see. Make a list orally or in writing.
3. Encourage your children to separate the parts into piles.
4. Examine the remaining small particles of dirt under a microscope or magnifying lens.
Soil Experiment 2: What’s My PH?
(Advanced, better suited for grade schoolers)
The PH level of garden soil will affect how successful your garden plants will grow. Most plants will survive with a PH level between 5.5 and 7.0.
So how do you know how acidic or alkaline your soil is?
Here is where a PH test kid from your local extension office or home and garden store comes in handy.
- Kids Garden Gloves
- Soil Test Kit
Directions for Garden Science Soil Experiment #2
1. Sample the soil per the test kit directions.
2. Make predictions on what you think the results will show.
3. Follow the directions provided with the PH testing kit.
4. Read the test results using the provided charts.
5. Compare the results to your predictions. Compare the results to the optimum levels for plant success.
6. Make decisions based on these results to how your soil needs to be changed. (I usually ask the garden center staff for help with this step!)
So, the question for today is…
What’s in YOUR soil?
Looking for more gardening ideas? Check out these 30+ Gardening Activities for kids!
Terri Thompson says
Fantastic ideas! I'm saving these for when the snow melts and we can actually find our soil again. As a parent, I really appreciate that you included the common core standards. I think that is one of the biggest disconnects between parents and schools… us parents have no idea what the standards actually are. It's so much easier to supplement at home when you have an idea as to what your kids should be learning. Thank you!
Amanda Boyarshinov says
Thanks Terri, Even as a former teacher, I find it VERY difficult to get my hands on these common core standards. IF there are any grades you'd like me to focus on more, just holler!
These are terrific ideas. How do people connect with you via email?
Christine Smothers says
Thank you I’m highly interested in more easy hands on activities for the garden that any of my families would be able to do with their children. Just really thinking about using other items more natural or recycled materials because not all families have the necessary items. Thank you I’m going to try out the romaine lettuce growing idea and the soil experiment. I am a preschool teacher and I’m working from home so I’m sharing videos and websites with my families.