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Soil Examination

Allen Nelson                   John P. Altgeld Elementary School
                               1340 W. 71st Street
                               Chicago IL 60636
                               (312) 535-3250

Objectives:

      The main objectives of this Mini-teach are:
1. Students will recognize different populations in a soil sample.
2. Students will demonstrate and observe water and wind erosion.      
3. Students will construct a levee flood control technique. 

Materials Needed:

1. Soil Sample - 4 to 6 cubic centimeters of turf per group, hand lenses, paper
   plates, microscope (optional).
2. Water and Wind Erosion - one piece of 10x13 inch shelving board per group, 2
   pieces of 1x2 furring strips, nails or screws, catch container, loose soil,
   straws, plastic cups, water.
3. Levee Construction - use apparatus constructed in #2, sand, plastic sandwich
   bags, twist ties, plastic spoons, 2 quart pitcher.

Strategy:

Soil Sample 

1.  Place the turf sample on a paper plate.  Analyze the soil using your hand 
    lens.  Look for as many different populations as you can find.
2.  Draw any organisms you can identify.

Water and Wind Erosion

1.  Attach the furring strips to the shelving board (the 2 inch side should be 
    vertical). Place one strip along the top left side of the board and the 
    other strip 5 inches away (parallel).
2.  Make sure the board is placed on a 45 degree incline.
3.  Place a mound of loose soil midway up the board, on the opposite side 
    place a piece of turf.
4.  Distribute a straw to each group, allow students to blow on both soil
    samples.  Observe what happens.
5.  Distribute 2 eight ounce cups of water to each group, allow students to
    pour the water over each soil sample.  Remember to use your catch 
    containers!  Observe what happens.

Construction of Levee

1.  Use the apparatus constructed in strategy #2, but remove the soil samples. 
2.  Give each group 6 plastic sandwich bags and 6 twist ties, plastic spoons,
    and a container of sand.
3.  Allow students to fill their sand bags and give them time to develop their
    own methods for constructing a levee.
4.  When students feel their levee will hold back the water, they should raise
    their hand and the teacher will pour water from a pitcher to test levee
    strength.
5.  If students levee does not hold back the water, allow them to rearrange
    their sand bags.

Performance Assessment:

     At the completion of this Mini-teach students will be able to answer the 
following questions:

 1.  What is a population?  List the types of populations found in your soil.
 2.  What is a community?  Give an example of a community. 
 3.  From your observations, what held the soil together?
 4.  What is water erosion? 
 5.  What is wind erosion?
 6.  From your observations which soil sample had a greater amount of wind
     erosion?  Explain your answer.
 7.  From your observations which soil sample had a greater amount of water
     erosion?  Explain your answer.
 8.  When would levee construction be needed within a given area?
 9.  If your levee successfully held water, explain why?  If not, why?
10.  What properties of sand make it useful in levee construction?

Conclusion:

     At the conclusion of this Mini-teach students will understand the 
following:
           1. Soil contains many different populations.
           2. Less erosion occurs in areas where turf exists.
           3. When levee construction is needed and how levees are built.

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