OHC More Nature Study Book 4 Summer Sand and Soil

Outdoor Hour Challenge Sand and Soil Nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy

More Nature Study Book #4
Summer Sizzle
Sand and Soil

Inside Preparation Work:

  • Read the Handbook of Nature Study pages 760-764 (Lesson 216). (Note this section was not written by Anna Botsford Comstock.) Focus on the section, Kinds of Soil, on page 763. The information in the lesson will give you some ideas for collecting soil samples and then using suggestions #1-6 make plans for your outdoor time.
  • Read the instructions for conducting a soil experiment in the ebook or at this link: Dirt Discovery. This experiment might be interesting to do with samples of soil, sand, and gravel from various places.
  • A Grain of Sand video on YouTube.com – this is a must see short video on sand
  • Optional videos: PBS Kids: Rivers. Sand Under a Microscope (older students).

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • Find a place outside in your backyard, at a pond, river bank, or at the sandy shore to take your outdoor hour observing soil, sand, and/or gravel. Collect some samples to use in your soil experiment. Materials needed: Clear plastic container with a lid like a peanut butter jar or mayonnaise jar, small trowel, pen for labeling collection location if you do more than one. (Supervise children whenever you are near water.)
  • If you have a sandy beach, gather a sample of sand to bring home to use in your follow-up time. We use small containers like Altoid tins, old film canisters, or Tic-Tac boxes to collect small amounts of sand for our nature table. Make sure to label the container with the location of the collection site.
  • Make sure to allow plenty of time for unstructured time outdoors enjoying the summer sunshine. Please supervise your children carefully wherever water is present.

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Complete the What is Sand? activity from this website. (Materials needed: Sand, black and white paper, magnifying lens, and magnet)
  • Start and observe your Soil Experiment, recording your observations in your nature journal or on the notebook page in the ebook. If you collected more than one sample, make sure to include comparisons you find as the soil and other materials settle.
  • Alternate activity: Carefully observe your sand or soil with a hand lens, looking for living, non-living, and man-made components.
  • Advanced Study: What is Sand Made Of? Use these images or additional ones to examine your local sand. Try to determine what your sand is made of and record your results in your nature journal.

Image from Adam Hally on Flickr

Additional Links:

  • Mud Painting! – Gather some dirt, water, brushes, and paper and make your own mud paintings for your garden. Some instructions can be found HERE. This would make an interesting nature journal entry. You could collect mud from various places and put a little mud painting sample of each color in your journal.
  • The image above is from a sand collector. If you click the image it will take you to Flickr where the bottles are labeled with the place the sand was collected.

All the summer challenges for 2012 are included in the new More Nature Study Book #4 Summer Sizzle ebook. The challenges in the ebook are the same challenges that will post every Friday here on my blog. If you want to follow along with notebook pages and coloring pages, click over and learn more about the ebook.

More Nature Study Summer @handbookofnaturestudy


Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy



  1. Oh, this is a bit amazing. We just did this activity this very week!!!

  2. Great minds think alike. :)

    So are you going to share in a blog post and with the carnival? I would love to see what you did.

    Thanks Phyllis.

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