Earth Science Week Classroom Activities

State Soil Investigation

Activity Source:

Soil Science Society of America. Adapted with permission.

Many states have a designated state bird, flower, fish, tree, rock, and so on. Many states also have a state soil — one that has significance or is important to the state.

The Soil Science Society of America has developed a collection of state soil booklets, designed and written by professional soil scientists from the region to share in-depth information on each state soil. Each soil booklet includes a brief history of
how the state soil came to be, where it’s found, its importance and uses, limitations, management, information on soil formation, ecoregions and land use, a glossary, and additional resources.

In this activity, you will explore the state soil of your choice and report important characteristics back to the class. By the end of this activity, you should have an appreciation of your chosen state soil and be able to recognize the diversity of soil across the country.



1. Choose (or be assigned by your teacher) a state soil to investigate.

2. Use the worksheet to guide your investigation:

  • Which state are you investigating?
  • What is your state soil’s name?
  • Why did you choose this state soil?
  • How did the state soil get its name?
  • Where in the state is this soil found?
  • On how many acres is this state soil found?
  • What are common uses for this type of soil?
  • What is grown in the state soil?
  • What is CLORPT?
  • What is the “Parent Material” of this soil?
  • What do YOU find most interesting about this soil?

3. Report your answers back to the class. Discuss how your state soil differs from those of your classmates.

NGSS Connections

  • Science and Engineering Practices — Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas — Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • Crosscutting Concepts — Stability and Change