Students take many components found in all kinds of soil and make their own soil. They plant a few kernels of popcorn to see if their soil can support life.

Materials Needed

  • tin pans w/holes in the bottom, a variety of soil components popcorn
  • water, containers for components, labels, waterproof markers


  1. Students are lined up and told to use any thing on the table to create a soil of their own. The Education Coordinator will prompt students to think about what they found in other activities that made up soil and what do they think will make a good soil.
  2. Students choose from pebbles to soil additives, such as perlite, to create a soil.
  3. After they have gone through the line and chosen what they want to use a Docent, teacher, or parent will help them mix it up with some water.
  4. Then they will plant a couple of popcorn kernels in their soil and told that if the soil can support life then the popcorn will sprout in a few days.

Alabama Course of Study for Science

This activity meets goals specified for grades:

  • K–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 14, 17
  • 1st–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • 2nd–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • 3rd–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 40
  • 4th–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4
  • 5th–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4

Learning Outcomes

Students will recognize that it takes a mixture of soil components to make a good soil that will support life.

Instrumental Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • identify a variety of soil components.
  • recognize the necessity of a variety of components to make a good soil.
  • demonstrate what components are necessary to create a good soil.