Primary Science Week 2016

 May 16th to 20th             Soil

Getting Dirty Photo Competition

Check here for details
To view all entries go to this site and push the play button.

Regional Programmes

Auckland – Find out what is happening here

Hamilton – Find out what is happening here

Tauranga – Find out what is happening here

Wellington – Find out what is happening here

Christcurch – Find out what is happening here

Your regional coordinators are working on programmes for 2016 and these will be placed here as soon as they are available. If you want to help out in any way place contact your local coordinator. Their contact details can be found here.

Our focus for 2016 is Soil

Soil means life. Without soil we would be hungry, thirsty, naked, homeless and breathless.
Soils are all different. They vary by location and are a range of colours.
Soil is a habitat. A teaspoon of healthy soil is home to more living things than there are people on Earth!
Soil is where we dig for treasure.    Use Primary Science Week to explore the world beneath our feet. Go outside and dig a hole to discover science treasures.

 National Investigation

Investigating Soil Moisture

During Primary Science Week and throughout the year New Zealand  primary and Intermediate students can participate in our national experiment as well as a number of investigations relating to soil.

Teachers and students can follow this link: to find:
  • Soil moisture – data collection form (which will upload their data to a student national soil moisture database)
  • access to all of the data collected by clicking onto the results here link
  • a Google map that shows locations from which data has been shared.
Teachers and students wishing to review the data might like to compare collected data with the NIWA Daily climate maps (soil moisture anomaly and soil moisture deficit maps) and to see if the findings match up.

Dig A Hole

Ever wondered what the soil is like in your area? Then why not dig a hole and find out. Use this document to help you find out how to go about ‘digging a hole’ and what to look out for. This resource comes in three parts and includes many useful images and links. So why not get digging?
Dig a Hole

Soil Experiments and Links

New Zealand Sites

Have a look here for some excellent sites from the Kiwi Conservation Club
Dig a hole    Use the picture book Sam and Dave Dig a Hole to explore the science capabilities of observation and inference before going outside to dig a hole of your own. (If the book is not in your school library, check for online read-along videos.)
What makes up soil?    Students use an interactive or paper-based graphic organiser to explore their ideas about the components of soil.
Observing soil differences    Students bring in soil samples from their homes or other areas to view how soils differ from location to location. This activity includes online links to New Zealand soil images and an interactive soil map.
Visual soil assessment    Learn about soil quality and soil properties by digging up a 20 cm cube of soil to examine the soil structure and look for earthworms. This is a simplified diagnostic tool similar to the one used by farmers.
Milk, meat, wine and wheat    New Zealand has many different types of soil. Match different soils with the products they produce.
NZ Soils    Find out all about New Zealand soils how they differ, their importance and distribution.
Soil: The World Beneath Our Feet     New Zealand articles and activities for the International Year of Soil 2015
Soils and Us     Teaching resources put together by the Waikato Regional council
Education Outside the Classroom     Including  ’Soil Dig’ to help learn about what lives in the soil by exploring different soil samples from around the school grounds.

New Zealand Resources

New Zealand soils picture resource    Explore different soils throughout New Zealand. The resource includes soils’ common names, locations, descriptions and photos.
Interactive New Zealand soil order map    Use the maps to view where different soils are located. The maps also provide descriptions about the soils. These links may also be useful. Soil Portal and Soil Maps
Soil orders of New Zealand poster    New Zealand has 15 major soil orders. This PDF provides images of each soil order and its location. Ideal photos for showing the various colours and layers of different soils.
Other Useful Resources
International Year of Soils 2015 Videos    These short videos highlight the many services soils provide – from supporting human health, recreation and the environment to their role in art and literature.
The Apple as Planet Earth video    Soil is a finite resource. This video uses an apple to demonstrate the limited amount of usable soil we have on Earth.
Building Science Concepts – These books should be found in your schools.
Book 2: Weathering and Erosion: The Shaping of Our Landscape
Book 6: Soil Animals: Diversity Beneath Our Feet
 Making Better Sense of Planet Earth and Beyond – check through your Science resources for this book

Overseas Sites

Earth Learning Idea – this site has a wide number of Earth Science activities. Place Soil in the search box to find a large number of interesting activities.  This one, Soil Doughnuts, is about determining the different types of soils.
Soil Science of America – has several activities designed for the International Year of Soil including a great Kids Page.
Eco Friendly Kids – this UK based organisation has produced some simple soil experiments for schools
Soil Net –  provides a great activity that helps students understand the components that make up soil.
Soils for Life – looking at Australian soils and soil improvement

Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations 

2015 International Year of Soil – this website provides an overview of the importance of soil for the world. It provides several infographics and fact sheets that are useful to get a look at the big picture of looking after our soils. This infographic shows how soils are the foundation of nutrition.