Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Lesson, Vocabulary
Upper Primary
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

Education Standards

3rd Grade Soil Unit

3rd Grade Soil Unit


This resource is a multiday 3rd grade unit on Soil and Plants.

Remix- 3rd Grade Soil Unit

This is a soil/ plant unit for third  grade scholars. It is complete with Essential Questions, Materials, and a Packet and accompanying flipbooks. 

Credit to: Laytora Dash

Essential Questions:

  • Why is soil important?

  • What characteristics of soil influence the growth  and survival of plants?

  • How do the parts of a plant work together to survive?

  • What are the stages of the life cycle of a seed? 


  • Thinking Maps (Flow, Circle, Tree)

  • Soil Experiment Packet

  • 3 Types of Soil (soil,  sand, clay)

  • 3 clear containers 

  • Seeds of your choice (Enough for each group to get 2)

  • "Studying Soil" on Epic Books. (

  • “How a Seed Grows” by Helene J. Jordan (or “Seed to Plant” by National Geographic Kids)

  • Seed Life Cycle Flip Book

  • Flower/ Parts of a Plant Flip Book

  • Parts of a Plant Song


Motivator/ Hook (Day 1): 

Have scholars participate in a class discussion about the importance of soil and record their responses on a Circle Map. Pass out copies of the “Plant Song”. Sing the song with scholars and encourage them to join in with you.  Have scholars engage in a Think- Pair- Share about what the song is about. Discuss: 1) How do the different parts of a plant work together to survive? (Refer back to Parts of a Plant song and Flip Book) 2) How does soil influence the growth of plants and a plant's survival? Record responses on another circle map and save to reference back to. 


Day 2:

Draw a Tree Map on the board. Pass out 3 different color sticky notes (One for K- Know/ one for W-want to know/ and the last for L-Learn). Have scholars complete the stickies for K and W with a partner then have them stick their response on the KWL Tree Map. Read Aloud some responses. Read aloud the book "Studying Soil" on Epic Books. ( Have class discussion reviewing the main points of the book and soil’s importance in the growth and survival of plants. Record responses on Circle Map from Motivator. Have scholars fill out the L sticky note with a partner and put them under the KWL Tree Map. Read aloud responses of new found knowledge. 


Day 3:

Have scholars work together in the groups and observe different soil samples. They will observe the three types of soil in the experiment. Have scholars record responses in their Soil Experiment packets. They should be identifying the different characteristics of each type of soil using their 5 senses (not taste). Class will then come together and compare observations of the soils and have a class discussion on which type of soil they think will grow the plants better or not at all.


Day 4:  

Review KWL Tree Map and Circle Map with information of soil’s importance. Break scholars into groups of 3. Give each group a different type of soil (Group 1- soil/ Group 2- sand/ Group 3- clay) and 2 seeds. Have them prepare their containers with the soil and seeds (2 in. deep)  then water and place an area inside the classroom. Tell scholars that they will be observing the plants grow over the next two weeks and keeping data on their plants growth. Have scholars fill in the Soil Experiment packet. Make sure they draw their container from their group and record their observations and predictions. 


Day 5: 

Read aloud “How a Seed Grows” by Helene J. Jordan (or “Seed to Plant” by National Geographic Kids). Complete a Flow Map with scholars on the Life Cycle of a Seed. Have scholars record the information in their Soil Experiment packet. Then have scholars work with a partner to fill in the blanks of the “Seed Life Cycle Flipbook” using the information from their Flow Map. Review answers with scholars. 


Day 6-14:

Have scholars continue to make observations over two weeks to see which plant(s) grow. As they are watching the plants grow make sure they are making observations about which part of the seed life cycle their plant is in; how the soil is looking; if they see any parts of a flower, etc. After the two weeks have scholars compare the growth of their plants to the other groups. Record on the board common observations made. Discuss: Which type of soil made the plants grow the best? Not at all? Which characteristics of that soil helped the plants grow? Which characteristics of the other soils did not help the plants grow? Why is soil important?