How will your soil sample settle?

Farmers need to know if their soil will hold onto nutrients or wash away easily. Valerie Karhoff, Agricultural Education and FFA Advisor at Lakota High School, presented the Feed the World soil texture lessons so her students would become familiar with the three major textures and understand the various sizes of sand, silt, and clay particles.

These sediments are weathered from surface rocks or eroded by water or wind and carried to other places. Soil has varying levels of porosity and permeability depending on structure and texture, allowing it to help or hinder plant growth. The texture of the soil will determine how well it will hold water and nutrients. Soil stability or structure helps soil withstand erosion and allow for water infiltration.

The photo shows students setting up graduated cylinders with water and soil samples. The comparative volumes of sand, silt, and clay will be determined since the different-sized particles will settle out of the soil/water mixture at different rates.

In this lesson, the students became familiar with the various methods used to determine soil texture. Karhoff said her students enjoyed a hands-on experience. “It helped them to really see the different particle sizes and how they react in water in a controlled environment. This activity required them to work together.”

Karhoff said the workshop helped her as an educator by providing many ready-to-use hands-on activities she could put into immediate practice in the classroom. “I would recommend this workshop to others because the staff was great and we received free top-notch materials to use in our classrooms. Thank you, Ohio Corn & Wheat!!”