Primary School Lesson Plan

Source Wholefoods Primary Lesson Plan: ‘Stoked on Soil’

Date:  2013

Student Group: primary students (grade 3-6)

Duration of lesson:  120 min

Class Size: 22

Title of Lesson: Stoked on Soil

Intended Learning Outcome:

- What is soil, how is it formed?

- How do humans utilise soil?

- Why is soil important to us?





Teaching Strategies:            



List 25 everyday thing

15 minutes

  • Get them to list an everyday item each: apple, t-shirt, cup, box of cereal. 
  • Trace3 of them back to soil (point out it’s not everything: plastic).
  • Butchers paper and coloured textures


What other uses are there for soil?

5 minutes

  • Ask students what we use soil for.

Answers: Housing, recreation, farming, forests, mining

  • Cut out pictures to stick on a poster.


Soil sinks:

What is soil made up of and how did it come to be?

25 min

  • So we depend pretty strongly on soil but what even is it?
  • Describes the process of wind and water in the formation of soil through the story.


  • Soil story
  • Old sinks full of soil
  • Bowls
  • Mixing sticks
  • Water bottle
  • Soil ingredients

Appendix 1



Basement windows

Critters and soil

10 min

  • Wind and water form soil but what else comes into play? BUGS
  • Describe the role of bugs in breaking this down.
  • ‘Humans are just big compost heaps!’


  • Logs and rocks to look under.
  • Peep scopes (toilet rolls with wire over)

Appendix 2


Thankyou offerings

15 minutes

  • Bugs help break things down and they have just been kind enough to let us peek into their private lives, let’s leave them a thank you.
  • Everyone find something that a bug would like to munch on, or something perhaps they could crawl under and meet by the tree.
  • Think of a name for this offer and the role it will play in the near future with this bug
  • Twigs, leaves etc.



How water flows through crap and good soil

20 min

  • This decomposition of top soil helps to keep the water in the right area.
  • Have two troughs angled at 20 degree and get students to fill one with parent rock and one with top soil and organic matter. Show students water running through bad soil and nice healthy soil.
  • 2 trays, one with topsoil, 1 without.
  • Watering can



How thing grow in quality.

Making compost

25 min

  • Which tray do you think will be better for growing things in?
  • Here are two plants I planted earlier. If there isn’t good top soil what can we do? Make it!
  • Show students two containers. 1 with top soil and healthy plant. 1 with poor soil and a struggling plant.
  • Make a worm farm
  • Examples of plants growing 2 containers.
  • Poly Styrofoam box
  • Worms
  • Bedding

Appendix 3


How soil quality /energy required affects us.

10 min

  • Discuss things that would cause topsoil to diminish.
  • Explain about seasonality, quality and cost.




Source Ground Map and Activity Location:




Appendix 1: Soil Kitchen

Wash our hands in the soil sinks.

Up the top we have organic material, leaves

Next is top soil: This is made up of minerals from all this stuff that has broken down.

Sub soil: it’s often quite clay like and has coarser

Parent rock: large unbroken boulders, with some compounds

Bedrock: continuous masses of hard rock

Today we are going to try and recreate how the soil we’re standing on now come to be here. Do to this we need to gather some of the different ingredients that make up soil.

Come over to kitchen and grab a handful of already formed soil and some extra leaves, sand and stones.

We have the ingredients but what you are going to contribute to this process is the weather. As I read the story you need to continually mix the ingredients as if you were the wind. Sometime you will be working furiously and other times you will sit quietly.

On a wide moorland, high up on the hills, in a place open to the sun and sky, with no forest or trees nearby, there once stood some great rocks. It was a place where the wind liked to play. In the spring, lively little breezes blew over the frost and snow; in the summer a gentle wind from the sea, in autumn great gales blew across it and in winter came the north winds full of snow and ice. The winds whistled around these great big rocks, sometimes trying to blow them over, but the rocks stayed firm and told the winds to do their worst; they could not be moved. So the wind blew and the rocks stood firm and the winds blew, and the rocks stood firm and the winds blew but the rocks stood firm. The wind began to feel sorry for these old great rocks that stood up there so lonely. They said “We have travelled all over the land and see many things, and we have a wonderful life, but you stand there and stand there and stand there. You see nothing and nobody sees you. You look cold and lonely and gaunt; let us improve your look. We know how to do sculpture and we can help you. At first the rock were not too pleased and just wanted to be left alone but finally they thought it might be nice to have some company beside their own, so they agreed. The wind set to work. The south wind blew, then the east, then the north and then the west. They all did their bit but it was the south and west winds that worked the hardest. They worked furiously, blowing away a little bit here and a little bit there until, instead of those great plump forms the rocks began to take on a different shape. The little pieces of rock that had come free were spurred onto the open flat ground by the wind. The great rocks were worried that the tiny bits of themselves that had been ben separated during this process would be lonely, they said this to the wind. The wind thought for a moment and then went to the trees. “Trees” wind said, “some of great rock has been separated and now lies in on the ground. Would you be kind and offer some of you older wiser leaves to come down and be with the tiny separated rock on the ground?” The trees were a kind sort and happily shed the oldest, wises leaves for the wind to carry to the ground. (Get students to add leaves to their mixing bowls). The old leaves found themselves dancing around the tiny rocks as the wind gently carried them to the ground. As the leaf settled down rain started to patter down over them. They found themselves being surrounded by timey droplets of water (Get students to add water to their bowls). As the rain pounded the leaves and rocks together they were churned into the bank of a little stream. Here they become surrounded by tiny specks of sand (students to add sand to their bowl).  After a while a little beetle crawled in amongst them and started munching away at the leaves. Munch, munch, munch, munch, munch, munch went the little beetle. Here, the tiny bit of rock that came away from the giant boulder stayed for a very long time. The wind that had blown it here did not blow as strongly down on the ground were it resided and the rain was not so strong. Here is where the pieces still lay, on the ground.  

  • The Earth’s soil has developed over hundreds of millions of years, as the forces of weather have ground the top rocky layer of the Earth into smaller and finer grains, and as plant and animal life has helped to deposit nutrients.

  • Soil has been called the “skin of the earth” because it is the thin outermost layer of the Earth’s crust. Like our own skin, we can’t live without soil.

  • Soil contains all the nutrients needed by plants to survive. Some areas, such as deserts, have very poor soils. In these locations, it is difficult for complex plant life to take hold. Believe it or not, tropical rain forests also have poor soils. This is because most of the nutrients are already within living plants.




Appendix 2: Basement window


There is something else playing at work that we only touched on in the story which plays a big part in creating our soil. Who can tell me what it is?


Gather students around and explain that there is more to the breaking down process apart from just time and weather. There are also workers plodding away around the clock to help break materials down.

“We can find them by looking in the Basement Windows of Source.”  (Gather around a large rock or log).

“Everyone get ready to look inside, as some of the residents are quite shy and will scurry away as soon as they see us!” (bugs should go scurrying everywhere, call out in an excited tone as you see them flurry about to get the interest and encourage students to call their findings out too).

“So that’s how we look into the basement at Source. As we walk along to the next section see if you can find any other windows. We someone finds one we can all sneak up and have a peek”. Basements dwellers can often feel the vibrations of our feet so we’ll have to walk softly. Whoever opens the window, make sure to leave it the way you found it. After all, how would you like it if someone left YOUR window open?!”

How about we look for only 3 more windows, so we respect their privacy.








Appendix 3: Worm Farm





























Curriculum Links:

The Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA 2008) recognises that education for sustainability develops the knowledge, skills, values and world views necessary for people to act in ways that contribute to more sustainable patterns of living. It enables individuals and communities to reflect on ways of interpreting and engaging with the world.  Sustainability education is futures-oriented, focusing on protecting environments and creating a more ecologically and socially just world through informed action. Actions that support more sustainable patterns of living require consideration of environmental, social, cultural and economic systems and their interdependence.

The program offered at Source Community Wholefoods has been created with grade 3,4,5 and 6 with sustainability in mind as well as year level Science studies.

Over Years 3 to 6, students develop their understanding of a range of systems operating at different time and geographic scales. Students in these years begin to develop an understanding of energy flow through simple systems. They can classify components of life as living or non – living and begin to recognise that classifications are not always easy to define. They learn how to make comparisons and learn more sophisticated ways of identifying and representing relationships (ACARA,2013, Australian Curriculum: Year 3,Retrieved from,

Students will learn that not all forces can be seen with the naked eye and that some of the Earth’s surfaces have characteristic that have resulted from past changes (ACARA,2013, Australian Curriculum: Year 3,Retrieved from,

The program touches on Earth Science:

  1. Living things have life cycles
  2. Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive
  3. Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural processes and human activity

Physical Science:

  1. Natural and processed materials have a range of physical properties; These properties can influence their use
  2. Forces can be exerted by one object on another through direct contact or from a distance




The Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA 2008) recognises that ethical understanding assists students to become ‘confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens’. It does this through fostering the development of ‘personal values and attributes such as honesty, resilience, empathy and respect for others’, and the capacity to act with ethical integrity (MCEETYA, pp. 8–9).

As cultural, social, environmental and technological changes transform the world, the demands placed on learners and education systems are changing. Technologies bring local and distant communities into classrooms, exposing students to knowledge and global concerns as never before. Complex issues require responses that take account of ethical considerations such as human rights and responsibilities, animal rights, environmental issues and global justice.