Starting a Farm: Soil

One of the first things that farmers must do is check their soil to prepare it to grow crops or raise livestock. This section will help you understand more about what makes up soil and lives in it. Discovery Education owns this page.

Go to The Dirt on Soil by Discovery Learning.


This page lets you explore all the dirty facts about what plants grow in. There are three sections; Down and Dirty, Field Guide and Soil Safari. Start with Down and Dirty (3 sections), then go to the Field Guide, and finish off with Soil Safari. You will need to ask your teacher if you have Flash because it’s required to run this program. Be sure to answer questions as you read.

Study Question(s)

  • What’s the difference between dirt and soil?
  • What’s the difference between topsoil and bedrock?
  • What four things must go into the recipe to make soil?
  • Compare and contrast sand, clay, silt and loam soils ability to grow things in it.
  • Of the 7 critters listed that live under the soil surface, which 3 were your favorites? Why?
  • During your trip in the Soil Safari, what was the soil organism that is able to destroy the toxic chemical?

Soil color, texture, and structure will also help farmers determine how healthy their soil is. This page will help you understand what those terms mean. This page is owned by Kansas State University.

Go to Kid’s Field Day/Soil Pit.


This page lets you study three more characteristics of soil; color, texture, and structure. On the left, click on each of the characteristics and answer the following questions. Be sure to click on all the pictures!

Study Question(s)

  • What is Munsell Color Book used for? How would this be useful to farmers?
  • Why do you think the Tower of Pisa is leaning? Hint: it has to do with soil it was built on.
  • What happened to lots of soil during the Dust Bowl?
  • Why are earthworms so important in helping make soil?



Posted by leesindet on Jul 21 2009
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