XE Ecology’s Edible Soil Model

Objectives

To learn about the layers/horizons of soil by creating an edible model

Materials

  • Small clear plastic cup
  • M&M’s (couple of spoonfuls)
  • Small container of milk chocolate prepared pudding (or you can mix chocolate and vanilla)
  • Crumbled Oreo (or similar) cookies (two or three in a small zip-lock type bag)
  • Gummy worms
  • Spoon for stirring and eating

Procedure

Place some M&M’s or similar candy in the bottom of the cup to represent the solid rock and parent material (weathered, crumbling bedrock). Next spoon your pudding over the M&M’s. This represents the subsoil layer. The topsoil comes next. Pound the chocolate cookies in the plastic bag until the cookies are finely ground, and look like rich, dark dirt. Pour it over the pudding. Finally, place the gummy worms on the top. This represents litter, or organic matter. What a yummy way to learn about soil!

Conclusion

Bedrock is solid rock. Parent material is formed from the bedrock after a long weathering process.The subsoil is is lighter in color because it has less organic matter. It is made up of a variable mixture of small particles like sand, silt, and clay.The topsoil is the top layer of soil. Nutrients, bacteria, fungi, and small animals are abundant. Plants thrive in it because of the nutrients it offers. Litter, comprised of animal and plant materials, bark, leaves, etc., decompose into nutrients that enrich the soil.