Maybe playing in the dirt isn’t so bad after all?! All third-grade classes at Cardinal Intermediate School recently conducted two classroom science experiments involving the properties of various types of soil. Choosing from topsoil, clay, sand, or gravel, students had to first select two materials that would allow a lot of water to pass through, and then select two materials that would allow little water to pass through. With the help of school consultant Claire Zurbuch (aka, “Mr. Z.”), students then set up their materials, poured their water and analyzed their results.
Some students were surprised to discover that topsoil and clay allowed the least amount of water through, while sand and gravel allowed the most. “As all scientists know, we learn from our failures,” says third-grade Science teacher Barb Tropf.
The experiment is part of the third-grade curriculum to study the Earth’s resources. Tropf says, “Students are learning that it takes 500-1,000 years to make an inch of soil, so we need to conserve or save our soil. Water washes away good soil and roots hold it in place, and our experiment helped students discover what materials would hold water and help plants grow.”
Zurbuch and his science experiments are no strangers to Cardinal School students, the local community or Geauga County. The retired educator volunteers his time in area schools and has been serving as a Science Consultant for Cardinal Schools since 2003. Zurbuch was recently named the Geauga Water and Soil Conservation District’s 2014 Volunteer of the Year.
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