Explore the soil with a super scooper

Show kids the importance of what’s inside the soil—everything from nutrients that feed plants, homes for healthy bacteria, and carbon to fight climate change. Help them make a super scooper to explore this important microhabitat.

What you'll need:
• Permanent marker
• Empty, clean plastic milk container with a handle
• Scissors or crafting knife
• Hole puncher (optional)
• String or ribbon (optional)
• Colored or decorative masking tape

Dig a hole in the dirt a few inches deep, scoop out some soil, and place it on a sheet of white paper. With tweezers, have kids explore the composition of the soil. (Tip: Use the magnifier from Challenge 1 to carefully inspect it.) Use these questions and activities to inspire curiosity and talk about the things that live in this microhabitat:

• What kinds of things can you see in the soil? Pebbles? Twigs? Worms? Insects?
• Why do you think these things are in the soil and not aboveground?
• Take a small clod of dirt and dampen the soil. Then add a little vinegar. If it fizzes, that means the soil isn’t very acidic and will support native plants that prefer this type of soil.

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