Soils Lab

Soils have a variety of physical and chemical properties that allow identification. In this lab we will estimate three soil's texture.


The instructor will provide three soil types. After the class has finished with one sample, another will be brought out. Do not mix up soil samples.

  1. From the soil tray get one small handful of soil.
  2. Work with your soil over the paper on the lab tables.
  3. Follow the step by step instructional diagram to determine the soil texture.
  4. If needed, wet your soil by sprinkling water on it from a water container. Be very frugal with the water. If the soil gets too wet you will not be able to complete the lab.
  5. Use the soil triangle to determine the typical percentages of sand, silt and clay for your soil.
  6. When ready to clean up, brush the soil from hands into the soil container at the station, then wash your hands at the sink. Soil does not go in the sink or the waste paper baskets.
  7. Repeat the steps above for the other soil types.
  8. From your soil notes determine which Whidbey Island soils you have.

Data Table:

Data Soil 1 Soil 2 Soil 3 Soil 4
Sand %
Silt %
Clay %
Soil Name


  1. Explain what is meant by a soil's texture.
  2. Contrast the color of the three soils you examined.
  3. How would the parent material affect the soil. Use two Whidbey Island soils to illustrate your thoughts.