Dirt, What Is It?
Look at, touch, and smell a sample of real soil and notice that it is a mixture of different-sized particles to see the tiny animals that live in dirt.
Put plastic jars or bags filled with soil samples from different locations (by the sandbox, from the teacher's yard, from the woods, and so on) on the Science Table. Having a variety of samples will give the children the chance to notice differences in soil composition. Maybe they would like to bring in some dirt from near their home. Also display two jars of soil samples mixed with water. The longer the sample sits still the more it will separate, so make one sample immobile by taping it to the table, and leave the other free for additional shaking. Keep these out for a few weeks, or as long as you are exploring this experience with the children.
More to do:
With the children, dig for worms and look for other tiny creatures in the dirt (soil) around the school. Such animals are more likely to live where there are dead leaves or wood for them to eat and hide under. Ask the children how many words they know that mean the same as "soil."
Make the connection between the sun's energy and life on Earth.
small plastic farm animals
1. Fill a 9" x 13" (or larger) tray with potting soil.
2. Plant grass seeds and water them.
3. When the grass has grown, ask the children to set it up as they imagine a farm would look.
4. Provide small toy animals and people, twigs from outside for building, and a small jar lid for a pond. Add other small plants to represent crops and trees.
5. Put this on the Science Table and keep it out for a few weeks, or as long as you are exploring this experience with the children.