Glencoe Earth Science

Unit 1: Earth Materials


Soils tell a story. The history of the land is written in the layers of soil under our feet. In order to better understand the present make up and future composition of soils, we can study the depths of each horizon in a soil profile, its structure, color, consistence, texture, and rock components, and even the roots that grow in any particular soil. Routine soil measurements consisting of soil temperature and amount of soil moisture play an important role in analyzing soil characterizations.

You may choose to follow the prescribed GLOBE scientific protocols in a year-long soil study, use USDA soil analysis recommendations for kit purchase and use, or modify and design your own hands-on lab activities to meet the needs of your students. Laboratory activities of soil analysis include soil color, horizon profile, infiltration, soil temperature, structure, consistency, texture, particle size, pH, fertility, and soil moisture. Students investigate these qualities, record their measurements and observations on the Web, and analyze data from across the state, country, and around the world.

Research may take place daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, and yearly to compare data. Performance assessments are available as part of the GLOBE activities. Websites for data entry is available to provide a more comprehensive understanding of soil variations.

Possible Resources:

Procedures, Protocols, and Learning Activities are available at

Data Summary Sheets are available at

Post Your Data

[Create a table for students to post their data in similar to the ones that we use for the internet labs]

 Sample 1Sample 2Sample 3Sample 4
Horizon profile    
Soil temperature    
Structure (shape of soil aggregate)    
Consistence (resistance to breaking)    
Particle size    
Soil pH    
Soil moisture    

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