Thursday, May 31, 2018

100 Days of Science #27-- Soil Samples

As part of my husband's job he often runs all sorts of tests on soil samples.  One day a few weeks ago he knew we were home and he asked if the boys would like to learn a bit about what he does so we met up with him at the shop and he showed them one of the tests he does. 



We started with a large bucket of soil.


We dumped the soil into a pan and weighed it.


Then we heated the soil up on a hot plate to cook all the water out of the soil.  We re-weighed the sample to see how much moisture had been trapped inside the sample.


Once the soil was all dried we put the entire sample into the top tin of a series of stacking tin; each with a progressively smaller and smaller weave to catch the various sized particles of stone, sand, and clay.




We put the lid on the stack and placed it into a machine that vibrates and shakes the stacks.  We set the timer and settled back to wait.


Once the timer went off we had to weigh each individual tin of the stack and after subtracting the weight of the tin we knew how much material we had of each size rock/ sand/ material.  We recorded our findings on a piece of paper with each size of stone.

The amount of 3/8" stone in our sample

The first number on the tin refers to the size of the stone and the second number is how much that tin weighs alone





It was really neat!

Others in this series:

2.  Field Trip to the Ecotarium 
3.  Learning About Air Molecules
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

8 comments :

  1. What a great learning experience! I used to work in an environmental lab, so I've seen plenty of soil samples and sieves in my day. ;-)

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    1. It was a really great lesson; though my boys were dismayed to find out that there was some math involved.

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  2. Replies
    1. It was really neat! We've since done a few more.

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  3. What a great experience. I love seeing kids actually get to experience science in a practical environment. It always answers that pesky question when will I ever need to use this.

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    1. Exactly! In this case it also helped them understand a bit more of what their dad does all day.

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  4. that is cool. Would have loved to have been there. I wonder who does testing like that around here? Would be a fascinating field trip.

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    1. It was really neat; he had a computer program that he inputs all those numbers into but I really didn't understand what the program tells him...

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