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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Activity 3
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Let Me Out!
Activity 3

Purpose:To discover the flow rate of three main soil types

Materials:sand, *clay, and loam (potting soil) samples, half-gallon wax container, 16oz. plastic bottle filled with water, stopwatch or watch with second hand, nail

*(If you live in the Coastal Plains of South Carolina, clay will be found as the second layer of soil in most yards after the sandy soil.)

  Procedure:1. Cut the wax container so that all five sides are symmetrical (app. 9cmx9cmx9cm).
  2. Punch a hole in one bottom corner of the container using a nail.  

3. Fill the container with the soil sample to be tested. Leave a small area at the top.

4. Make a mark one centimeter from the bottom of the plastic bottle.

Image of a soil sample in half of an orange juice container

5. Begin to pour the water onto the soil.

6. Start timing when you see the water reach the mark on the bottom of the container.

7. Stop timing when you see the water begin to come out of the bottom of the container.

8. Construct a table similar to the one here to record your times.  


image of a flashing light bulbThink About This:

1. Which soil sample allows water to pass through almost unhindered? Why?

2. What type of soil is predominant in your area?

3. How does the predominant soil type in your area relate to the precision farming techniques that must be employed by area farmers?

4. Research topics such as global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), on-the-go yield monitors, and variable-rate (VRT) controllers. Your local Agriculture Research Service 

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Last Modified: 12/29/2016
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