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Healthy Soils, Healthy Students

This week at Toluca Lake Elementary, the fourth and fifth graders explored the garden soil, it’s various textures, and soil nutrients. The lecture began by asking questions to get the kids thinking about soils in a new way, such as “do you think our soil is alive?” and “how can the health of our soil affect the health of our plants, and even our own bodies?”

Once we discussed these questions we moved onto talking about various components of soil, important soil nutrients, and the soil texture triangle. Next, students were asked to hypothesize what the best soil type is, to which they replied “Loamy soil!”

We then moved into the garden, where in groups students took soil samples and detected the various amounts of sand, silt, and clay in their samples. Then the students added water to their samples, observed the changes in soil structure, and recorded their findings int heir science journals.

After making our soil observations, we moved on to the tomato plant where students took notes on the health of the plant. Students hypothesized if the soil could use more nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, or organic matter such as compost by looking at the health of the leaves, fruit, and stems. Finally, we ended class by snacking on the cherry tomatoes!