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What is in Soil?

November 2, 2022 | Cindy Kuperus

Second and third grade scientists are at work. They are observing, measuring, and recording their findings!

They started by comparing two soil samples. Using magnifying lenses, students looked closely at the samples, to see how they were the same and different. They recorded words for the samples in their soil lab books.


Next, students measured ten teaspoons of soil into a tube, added some water, and shook the tube 10 times. The tubes were allowed to “settle” for a few days.

On Tuesday, students noticed several layers in the tubes. They observed the coarse pebbles and soil that sank to the bottom, the silt that layered on top of that, and the fine clay particles that were nearest the top. At the very top, some organic matter was floating!


If you have access to a few different areas to collect soil samples from (a backyard, a wooded area), you might want to compare samples of each. Dig down about 6 inches and collect about 10 teaspoons of each in a class jar (with a good lid, of course!). Add about the same amount of water and then shake!  Allow to settle overnight. How many layers do you find?




Cindy Kuperus

Teacher, Grades 3&4

Ms. Kuperus attended a small Lutheran grade school and has always been a student in multi-grade classrooms. She became interested in teaching, in fact, when she would assist classmates when the teacher was busy helping others. Her 5th/6th grade teacher, Mrs. Roman, encouraged her to think broadly about the world beyond their small town (population: 500), giving stickers to those who could answer a question from the World News segment from television the night before. She would be thrilled to learn that Ms. Kuperus has taught internationally in Masaya, Nicaragua, and Chengdu,China.

After graduating from Calvin College, Ms. Kuperus taught students in grades two-six for almost 10 years in Kentwood, Michigan. In 1994, Ms. Kuperus sought a teaching position in a school in the Northeast, anywhere but New Jersey. She’s now taught for over 23 years in NEW JERSEY! Two of her former students, Becca Brasser and Sam Martino, are now on staff at MSS.

Ms. Kuperus loves opportunities to travel, interact with the people, and taste the foods of the world. She’s also a person who ‘travels” with the characters in the books she reads!

It’s important to Ms. Kuperus that people’s voices are heard and that their needs for shelter and food are met. To that end, she volunteers for organizations like First Friends and the Sharing Place.

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