Friday, November 28, 2014

Science and Soil Project


This afternoon we are going to read, The Story of Sand. (READ) On Friday, you drew and labeled what you saw in the water and sand vial. When I call your group you will walk over to the counter, take one vial, bring it to your desk and observe.

Let’s discuss our observations. What do you see in the vials? How many layers do you see? Where’s the sand? What do you see on top of the sand? The layer of material on top of the sand is called silt. Everyone say that. Silt is a particle of rock much smaller than sand. Shake your vial. What do you notice? The silt goes back into the water.

Hands on your head. When I say go please take out the sheet we were working on on Friday. Do not start, we will work through it together. Go.

Take your pencil; we are going to label the drawings to identify the layers we see in the vial. What is the space between the top of the water and the vial cap called? Put your drawings in your science notebook and put your science notebook in your desk.

Put your hands under your desk and your eyes on me. I have SOAR tickets for students name. Listen carefully (DEMONSTRATE), each group of partners is going to get a container. You will carefully pour off the water in the vial. The sand and silt should remain in the vial. You may carefully touch the top later of silt. 


Today I have a new earth material for you to observe. You will make observations using your senses. Each of you is going to get a cube of material and your job as a scientist is to find out all you can about it. Good scientists ask questions. What does it feel like? What does it look like? What can I do with it? What happens to my hands as I work with this material? What is this material called? When I call your table stand up, walk to the counter, take a cup, bring it back to your desk and explore the new earth material for 5 minutes.

Let’s take a few minutes to discuss our observations. What is this material called? Yes, the new earth material is clay. What is special about this material? What happened to your hands as you worked with the material? Clay is made of pieces of rock even smaller than silt. Clay is made of pieces of rock that are really, really small. The dust on your hands is actually dry clay particles. ----CLAY SHEET----

You will pinch off a small piece of clay from your cube of clay. The small piece should be about the size of a pea. Roll into a ball. Now pinch off a larger piece of clay from your cube of clay and roll into a ball. Punch your hands under your desk. DO NOT touch the clay balls.

What do you think would happen if we were to put a small ball of clay in a vial with water? Great predictions! Eyes and ears on me as I give these next directions. You are not doing this right now, you are watching. Put the small ball of clay in a vial. Pour water into the vial almost to the top. Watch what happens to the clay in the water for a minute or two. Remember scientists make observations. Observe the clay in the vial. Observe what’s happening to the clay. Observe what’s happening to the water. ---VIAL SHEET---

I am going to pass out a cap for your vial. Please put it on tightly. Once your cap is on and you have made your observations I want to challenge you to shake the vial until the clay balls disappear. Scientists make observations as they are shaking. It is your job to determine if the clay ball is getting smaller. It is a scientist’s job to describe changes in the water.

While you’re at gym I’m going to get a vial and I’m not going to shake mine. Tomorrow, you’ll compare your vial with mine. We are going to let the vials sit overnight. When I call your table you go put your vial on the counter and get ready to go home. 


Today I have a new Earth material for you to explore. HOLD UP BAG To explore this new material you are going to work in pairs at your desk. Each pair is going to get a bag. You are scientists and your job as a scientist is to first look at the material through the bag and then open the bag a bit to smell and touch the contents. We are not pouring out the contents in your bag. You are looking at the material through the bag and then opening your bag a bit to smell and touch the contents. Questions? PASS OUT BAGS

CALL STUDENTS TO THE FLOOR Scientists make observations so let’s take a minute to talk about what you observed. What does the material in the bag look like? What does the material in the bag smell like? What does the material in the bag feel like? The material in the bag is called, humus. Everyone say that- humus. Humus is mostly plant material so parts of plants like leaves and roots that have decayed or rotted. Decayed and rotted are two big words and I want to take a minute to explain what they mean. Visualize a pumpkin. When it rots it gets soft and mushy. When it decays it breaks down even more and because pumpkins are 90% water they dry out and shrivel (wrinkle) up. So maybe in our humus you’ll see a shriveled up leaf or parts of a root.

I have a recipe for an earth material that includes humus. I have 4 cups- 2 containing sand, 1 containing gravel, 1 containing small pebbles and we’ll also add your bags of humus. Scientists make predictions so let’s take 5 predictions. What do you think we are going to make with these ingredients? DUMP INTO THE BASIN/ NAME INGREDIENTS AS I DO SO

Now it is your turn to add your humus to the mixing basin. ONE TABLE AT A TIME All the humus has been added so I am going to stir the mixture. The name for the mixture we just made is called soil. Everyone say that. Soil. Soil covers almost all of the Earth’s land surface. Soil is a combination of earth materials like sand, gravel, pebbles, and humus, which is rotting or decaying plant material.

Our I can statement is, “I can name the 4 earth materials in soil.” Repeat after me. I CAN STATEMENT To review; the 4 earth materials in soil are sand, gravel, pebbles, and humus. What are they?

We are going to create a project today. The very 1st thing you are going to do is list the 4 earth materials in soil. What are they? Great! That’s what you will write here. As you are writing what is in soil. I will come around with a large white sheet of paper, a half sheet of brown, and 3 rectangle pieces of paper. The dark brown is your humus. The light brown is sand. The light gray is your pebbles. This is my example. You are to do all the cutting and gluing on your own. Remember, a little glue goes a long way. Most of the time one or two dots of glue is going to be plenty. Questions?


Yesterday, we explored with humus. We also learned the 4 earth materials in soil. What are they? Today we are going to separate soil so our I can statement is, “I can separate soil.” Your job as scientists is to find out how to take soil apart. You’ll start by placing a sample of the soil on a paper plate. As scientists you’ll examine the soil, try to separate it by hand, and shake the plate back and forth (DEMONSTRATE) just like you did with the sand. Your plate needs to stay on your desk as you shake.

What happened when you shook the soil? The sand, gravel, and pebbles separated into groups but the humus did not. What earth materials did we put in the soil? Humus, sand, gravel, and small pebbles. Remember, you are trying to separate those 4 earth materials. What are some tools you think we could use to separate the soil?

Remember these screens? (REVIEW AND DEMONSTRATE) Each pair of students will get 3 screens and 4 containers. You will combine your soil and work together. First you’ll put a paper plate under a container. Next you’ll put the large screen on top of the container. You’ll shake the soil on the screen and save what doesn’t go through. Then, you’ll move on to the medium screen and then do the small screen. Questions?

We are going to discuss what happened with the screening. Our I can statement for today’s lesson is, “I can separate soil.” Repeat after me. Were you able to separate the soil with the screens? What parts of the soil could you separate out with the screens? Where did the humus end up? In each container. Why? What do the large pieces of humus look like? The small pieces? 


Over the past few days we have explored a lot with soil. What are the 4 earth materials in soil? Humus, gravel, pebbles, and sand. What is humus? Rotting or decayed plant material. On Friday, we separated the soil using screens. We also put some soil in a vial with water and left it over the weekend. Today, we will observe what happened in your soil and water vials. We will draw and label a picture of the vial as well.

When I say go you will form one line towards the back counter. You will get a vial but do not shake it. You are scientists and your job as a scientist is to make observations.

CALL BACK What did you observe in your soil and water vial? Humus, clay, silt, sand, gravel, and pebbles. You may have noticed some of the humus is floating on the top and some is mixed with the other materials. POWERPOINT

When I say go you are going to walk back to your desk, take out your soil drawing sheet and crayons. Do not shake your vial. Scientists draw an accurate representation of what they see and if you shake your vial then your soil and water sample is ruined.

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