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Curious
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Settle Down, Soil

A simple science experiment to see what settles, what floats

Highlights 4Cs

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Curious
The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.
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Creative
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Caring
The holding hands icon represents caring. For content about raising a caring child, look for this icon.
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Confident
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Be a dirt doctor! Use the powers of observation to examine what’s in your soil. Kids of all ages will dig this simple experiment.
Use the powers of observation to examine what’s in your soil. Kids of all ages will dig this simple experiment.
What You’ll Need
  • Soil
  • Clear plastic jar with lid
  • Water
What to Do
  1. Pour a hefty scoop of soil into a clear plastic jar.
  2. Fill the jar with water, cover the jar, and shake well. Let it sit.
  3. After a day or two, see if layers have formed. Soil contains many kinds of particles, which swirl in the water when you shake the jar. They eventually settle according to their size and weight. Larger, heavier particles settle first (pebbles, then soil and sand) and smaller, lighter particles settle last (fine silt, then finer clay). Sticks and bits of leaf matter float. What do you see?
Use the powers of observation to examine what’s in your soil. Kids of all ages will dig this simple experiment.
Extend the Fun

For younger kids: Make “dessert dirt” to imitate the stripes in your soil. In a drinking glass or glass dish, layer Grape Nuts cereal, raisins, chocolate chips, gummy worms, whipped topping, and pudding with crushed vanilla wafers, chocolate sandwich cookies and/or graham crackers. With a spoon as your shovel, dig in!

For older kids: Be a garden chemist. Find out if your soil is salty (alkaline) or sour (acidic). Fill a paper cup with two spoonsful of soil. Add ½ cup of vinegar. If it fizzes, your soil is salty (alkaline). No reaction? Put two spoonsful of soil in another cup. Add water to make mud. Add ½ cup of baking soda. If it fizzes, your soil is sour (acidic). Chives and sunflowers thrive in alkaline soil. Blueberries and azaleas thrive in acidic soil.

Tell us: What’s your take on homework? Please select the sentence below that best reflects your point of view.

Parents Talk Back
Tell us: What’s your take on homework? Please select the sentence below that best reflects your point of view.
Kids today get too much homework.
30% (14 votes)
Homework is important. Kids need to stay on task to keep up with the pack.
20% (9 votes)
Parents should be encouraged to help young kids with homework.
35% (16 votes)
Parents should encourage kids to complete homework assignments on their own.
15% (7 votes)
Total votes: 46