Soil Enzyme Activities

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Having the right balance of enzymes can make a big difference in soil health and growth potential. This lesson offers activities that make it fun to teach and learn about soil enzymes.

Teaching About Soil Enzymes

Are you trying to help your students understand the relationship between soil quality and plant life? One topic you are likely to focus on is that of soil enzymes, which can have a strong impact on plants' ability to absorb nutrients and decompose residual material.

To teach your students everything you want them to know about soil enzymes but still keep learning fun, you may want to include some different activities in your lesson planning. The activities in this lesson will help your students become experts on soil enzymes.

Visual Activity

This section offers an activity that will appeal to students who learn best visually, with images or graphic organizers as support.

Analyzing and Creating Graphs

Show your students several different images of graphs that indicate enzymes in the soil local to your school and community. You might include pie charts that document the amounts of different enzymes in soils, or line graphs that show the impact of enzymes on plant growth in different specific areas. Break students into small groups and ask them to talk about what they notice from these graphs and what the graphs indicate about soil enzymes in the area where you live.

After students have learned about soil enzymes and what they do, they are ready to think about what soil conditions are ideal for different kinds of plants. Ask students to work independently or with partners to create a diagram that illustrates the composition of soil that has the appropriate percentage of the different kinds of enzymes they would like to see in order to grow a crop of their choosing. Let them share their diagrams and discuss any similarities or differences.

Tactile Activities

The activities in this section offer students an opportunity to learn more about soil enzymes using their hands and bodies.

Different Kinds of Soil

This activity will have to happen over time, but students can get a lot out of it. Use different kinds of potting soil, with predetermined levels of enzymes that your students are interested in. In cups or small flower pots, have students plant the same seed in at least three different kinds of soil. Have them care for the seeds the same, but observe any differences in how they grow. After several weeks, students can draw tentative conclusions about the impact of enzymes on plant growth.

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