Activity to Determine What Soil is Best for Plants
In this activity, students will compare the growth of bean plants in different types of soils. It can be done as a group activity, with each group setting up their own series of pots with different soils. If classroom space is limited, the teacher can set up the experiment for the whole class to observe.
- Bean seeds or other seeds that germinate easily and quickly.
- Small pots or paper cups with holes in the bottom for drainage.
- Sand, pea gravel and potting mix. If available, include other soil samples representing different soil types, such as clay and loam. Students may wish to bring in samples from their own yards to test.
1. Prepare identical pots containing different types of soil.
2. Plant four bean seeds in each pot.
3. Give each pot the same amount of water and expose to the same amount of sunlight.
4. Students will observe the germination and growth of the bean plants over time, and record their observations in their science journal or on a worksheet.
5. Students will compare the growth of the plants in different types of soil and conclude which soil type was best for plant growth.
6. Have students explain their results. The seeds should grow poorly in the pea gravel and sand because these provide very few nutrients, while the potting soil is best suited for plant growth because it contains nutrients that plants need.