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Activities for Teaching the Soil Layers

This week we are learning about the different layers of soil!

What is soil?

Soil is the part of the earth’s surface comprised of disintegrated rock and humus that provides the medium for plant growth. The development of soil takes time, between hundreds and thousands of years, and consists of diverse materials which are both inorganic and organic.

The inorganic materials are the non-living aspects of the soil such as minerals and rocks while the organic materials are the living aspects of the soil such as the soil micro-organisms. The process of soil formation is through the rock cycle together with the integration of soil microbial and chemical activities originating from living organisms. (See More Here)

Here are the 4 layers:

Topsoil - The thin rich top layer of soil where most nutrients for plants are found.

Subsoil- Made of sand, silt, and clay that hasn't been broken down all the way.

Parent Material - Mostly rock that has been weathered. Not many things down here except for the biggest tree roots!

Bedrock- The lowest layer of soil, it is all rock.

Why is soil important?

Topsoil is very important for life. As you can see in the picture, plants and animals depend on topsoil. Good topsoil is usually a dark color.

Soil is essential for life because it provides the medium for plant growth, acts a filtration system for surface water, maintains the balance of atmospheric gases, stores carbon, and is a habitat for several organisms.

We decided to further explore the soil layers by doing a fun dessert activity!

First, we headed to the store to find the perfect ingredients to develop our layers:

The ingredients:

Grass or the Hummus - Green Sprinkles

Topsoil - Crushed Oreos

Subsoil - Chocolate Pudding

Parent Material - Crushed Hershey Bars

Bedrock - Chocolate Chips

and of course soil loving Gummy Worms!!

They found that using their pumpkins made crushing the Oreos a lot easier!

Chocolate Chip Bedrock Layer

Crushed Hershey Bar Parent Material Layer

Chocolate Pudding Subsoil Layer

Green Sprinkles for the Grass Topping!

And the finishing touch, Gummy Worms!

We made mini soil layer flip books too!

Extra Resources:

Click each picture for direct link!

Neat Lego model of the soil layers!

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