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Soil Layers

It's a journey to the centre of the Earth, well actually a metre into the Earth. Learn about the characteristics and science behind the ground we stand on.

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  • What are the soil layers? 
  • How many soil layers are there? 
  • Where will your group go to find a soil layer sample? Will it be ok to dig there?  
  • What materials do you need to dig a soil horizon? 
  • What do you think some of the differences will be between the soil layers? 


  • As a group, hike to a spot where a 1m by 1m hole has been dug into the ground in advance 
  • Visible within this hole will be the different soil layers, also known as the soil horizon.  
  • What do you think each layer is, and what makes it different than the other? Try and think about why some layers might be darker, whether or not the different layers have more or less air/water within it.  
  • Take turns letting other youth get closer to the hole to see the different layers. 


  • Why do you think soil horizons are an important part of nature?  
  • How would nature be impacted if soil horizons were damaged or polluted? 
  • Do you think soil layers will change in different environments? Why or why not? 
  • What other things in nature might have layers similar to a soil horizon? 
  • Remember to submit your activities on our Scouts for Sustainability Take Action Map

Keep it Simple

  • Only look at one soil site, and discuss the soil for that local environment to keep this activity simple. As well, one can bring up a picture of a soil horizon to keep the activity inside/simple. 

Take it Further

  • Look at two different soil sites, in two different areas to try and find a difference. Discuss why this difference might have occurred or not occurred. You can also draw the differences, and hypothesize (or guess) why these differences occur! If you want to take it further and have a tasty treat, use different foods like brownie, chocolate pudding, and Oreo crumbs to have the Youth replicate and explain what they saw with the different soil horizons.