Dirt Detectives

Online class for 1st — 4th Graders

Get the “scoop” on soils!

Join Naturalist Teresa Root on a Dirt Detectives adventure to investigate all the different components of soil! In this series of videos, you’ll collect samples to learn what is in soil and dirt, discover how dead plants and animals get turned into soil, and learn how scientists classify rocks by size – from enormous boulders to powdery silt. Then, read along to learn more about dirt and soil with several great books on rock collecting, sand, and worms. Also, uncover erosion with Naturalist Fellow Julia Pedersen and learn how rainfall and runoff affect different soils. Dig up some soil in your neighborhood: what can you discover about the dirt below?

1. What’s in dirt?

Soil and dirt are important, but what exactly is in it? In this video, you’ll investigate what things are in dirt and soil by comparing samples from four locations around the nature center.

2. Rocks, Big to Small

Rocks can be big and rocks can be small. One way scientists organize rocks is by size. In this video, you’ll learn the names for different sizes of rocks from the most enormous to the very tiniest.

3. Making Dirt

After a plant or animal dies, what happens to it? And what does that have to do with dirt and soil? In this video, you’ll learn about decomposers—the dirt makers on our planet—and how you can use decomposers to make soil, too!

4. Erosion

Why do some soils erode? Get the dirt on how water washes soils away and what qualities help hold it together! Naturalist Fellow Julia talks rainfall and runoff.

5. Let’s Go Rock Collecting (Read-along)

“Let’s Go Rock Collecting” by Roma Gans
Rocks are everywhere—on beaches and roads—under your feet. Read along with a Dodge naturalist to learn how rocks are formed and how you can start your own collection.

6. Sand (Read-along)

“Sand” by Ellen Prager
Walk along a beach and wiggle your toes in the sand. But where does sand come from and what’s it made of? Read along with a Dodge naturalist to learn about some of nature’s smallest rocks: sand.

7. Wiggling Worms at Work (Read-along)

“Wiggling Worms at Work” by Wendy Pfeffer
They’re busy underground turning dead plants into soil. Who are these busy workers? They’re worms! Read along with a Dodge naturalist to explore the amazing world of worms.

8. Wonderful Worms (Read-along)

“Wonderful Worms” by Linda Glaser
Read along with a Dodge naturalist to learn what life is like for wonderful worms!

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