Week 2

Session 1

Guiding Question

  • How can we make sand stand tall?

Subquestions

  • What are the different types of the soils (classified by particle size) – in science (they classify by colors)?

  • How can we tell the differences between soil types?

Outcomes

  • Identify different types of soils based on engineering classification: gravel, sand, silt and clay

  • Identify differences in terms of their sizes and shapes (round versus angular)

CT Components

Comparison

  • Compare the different soil types

Data Collection

  • Document color, smell, shape, feel, and size of soils

Data Analysis

  • Written and oral descriptions of the physical characteristics of the soils

Entry Event

10 minutes

The facilitator could start with the following questions:

  • What is soil? What does it look like?

  • How do we use soil?

  • What does it do?

  • Where soil is found?

Introduce four types of soil that are placed in four different containers: gravels, sands, silts and clays. Ask students to observe four types of soils in small groups.

Part 1

Play with Mr. Dirt

Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry 15 minutes

The facilitator can ask, “how big is a millimeter?” “How big is 4 millimeters?” – indicating we could easily identify gravel from the rest of other soils. “What about sand?” “How big is sand?” “How big is 0.1mm?” and “how big is 0.05mm?” Here, the facilitator can encourage students to describe the size of sand in fraction language. For example, if we know big is one millimeter, then 0.1mm is tenth of 1 mm, and 0.01 is one hundredth of 1mm, etc.

Gravel > 4mm; Sand- 0.07 to 4mm; Silt – 0.002 to 0.075 mm; and Clay < 0.002.

Image Credit: http://earthsci8.wikispaces.com

The facilitator can ask, “Let’s see what else we can observe about these different types of soil.” Review words that students could use to describe their observations. It might be worth considering questions such as:

  • What words do we use to describe smell of an object?

  • What mathematical words could we use to describe the size of an object?

  • What words do we use to describe how we feel when we touch an object?

Resources

    • Six sets of four types of soil (gravel, sand, silt, clay)

    • Containers or cups

    • Six sets of four types of soil (gravel, sand, silt, clay)

    • gloves for each student

    • Types of Soil Worksheet

Each group (6 students per group) will have a set of four containers that have types of soils. Ask students to document observable physical characteristics of the soils in a worksheet (below)

  • Describe of color, smell, size of each type of soil

  • Test to see if each type of soil can stand by itself

Whole Group Discussion

15 minutes

The facilitator could ask following questions to guide student thinking on analyzing their observations and sharing it with the whole group:

  • What did you observe? Color? Smell? Size? Shapes?

  • How do we describe the sizes of soils? How do we measure the sizes of different types of soils?

  • What are different shapes of soils? Can we see and describe them?

  • Which types of soil can stand? Which ones can’t?

  • What the physical properties (that we discovered) do they (soils) share in common?

  • What are the differences?

Part 2

Sifting Soils

Small-group Hands-on Scientific Inquiry (30 minutes)

The facilitator will need to introduce the method of “sift”, and show students how to use sift to get some measurements of the sizes of soils including gravels, sands, clay, and silts. Review math – quantitative reasoning and different measurement system, metric (meters, centimeter, etc.) and U.S. (feet, inches, etc.) How big is 1 cm? 1 mm? 0.1mm? Ask, “What kinds of tool do we use to have linear measure?” “What kinds of tools do we have to measure the size of particles?”

Resources

6 sets of sieves (each includes one 4.75mm sift and 0.075mm sift)

A mixture of soils in different containers (1 cup each small group of 3 students)

Gloves for every student (check if students are allergic to neoprene, also prepare nitrile gloves)

Rulers that show mm for measuring

Sifting Soils Worksheet: testing physical observations of each soil type using sieves

Whole Group Discussion

10 minutes

The facilitator could ask following questions to guide student thinking on analyzing their observations and sharing it with the whole group:

  • What did you observe on the sizes of the soils?

  • How do we describe the sizes of soils?

  • How do we measure the sizes of different types of soils?

  • Which type of soils has the biggest size? Which one has the smallest size?

End of Session Reflection and Debriefing

5-10 minutes (will be recorded)

  • What did I learn today?

  • What worked well?

  • What didn’t work well?

  • What can I/we do differently next time?

  • Do you have anything else to share?