Yesterday we sat down with our science books and read about soil layers. Well, if you have read any of my blog posts or even the title of this page you know that ‘reading’ about soil layers was not going to do at this house! So, I sent my children out with a spoon and a jar to collect some soil. I gave them a small list that read something like this:
Rocks and pebbles
bark and leaves
When they came back indoors with their jars 1/2 full we added some water and left a space at the top of the jar for air. Then we shook up the jars. I asked my children to draw a picture of what they saw and describe it. Frankly there wasn’t much to see it was pretty muddy in there.
Then we let the jar settle undisturbed on the counter for a few hours and then made another observation. This one was much more descriptive. We were surprised to notice that the large rocks settled on top of the silt and sand at the bottom of the jar. We were also surprised by how clear the water became.
What did we discuss? We talked about density and how the items that were more dense settled to the bottom of the jar while the items such as the bark and leaves floated on top of the water. We made connections with our history study of the Nile river and how it flooded and made the soil rich for the farmers to grow crops. Finally we drew conclusions on the importance of each layer in the jar in relationship to living things. How insects live in and eat the leaves and bark and break them down into smaller bits which enrich the soil with nutrients for plant roots to absorb. Healthy plant make the healthy food we eat. We discussed how the rocks provided shelter for the wood lice (rolly polly bugs) and ants and made additional connections about how those insects help to aerate the soil which is important for plants to grow.
Of course then my children went back outside to play in the mud….because….mud is FUN!