Experiment 1

Soil Deposition

In this experiment you will discover if the crowbar from the scene of the crime was buried with a shovel (most likely by Mr. Plover) or buried under sediment deposited from the Stumporl Stream.

If you want, you can see a video on how to do this experiment on the bottom of this page

I. Hypothesis
Soil from shoveled dirt will exhibit different characteristics than soil deposited from moving water, such as a stream.

II. Materials needed

  1. two clear 2-liter soda bottles or two large glass jars with lids.
  2. a large spoon or small shovel
  3. a bucket or pail
  4. a magnifying glass
  5. a permanent marker
  6. a funnel or rolled piece of paper (You will only need this of you are using the 2-liter soda bottles.)

III. Procedure

  1. Read through all the steps of the procedure before starting your experiment.
  2. Collect enough soil to fill at least one 2-liter soda bottle. Make sure your soil sample is made up of different size particles. You may want to collect your soil sample from at least three different areas to ensure a good, well-mixed sample.
  3. Using a spoon, small shovel or stick mix the soil thoroughly. This is your soil sample that you will use throughout the experiment.
  4. If you are using 2-liter soda bottles, cut one of the bottles in half and discard its top in a recycling bin. Label the lower half, shovel with a permanent marker. Label the uncut bottle, stream. If you are using large glass jars label one jar, shovel and the other, stream.

    label the jars as shown above

  5. Using a spoon or small shovel fill the container you labeled shovel with about 12 centimeters (5 inches) of soil sample and set it aside.

    Fill the containers as shown above
    Fill the container that you labeled stream with about 12 centimeters (5 inches) of soil from your sample. (If you are using a 2-liter soda bottle you may need a funnel or rolled piece of paper to get the soil into the bottle without spilling.)

    Fill the stream containers as shown above.
  6. Fill the rest of the container labeled stream with water. Leave about 3 centimeters (1 or 2 inches) of space at the top of the container to prevent spilling.

    Fill the rest of the containers with water as shown above
  7. Cap the container labeled stream securely and shake it thoroughly until all the soil is well mixed in the swirling water. The dirty swirling water represents sediment suspended in moving water, such as a stream.
  8. While the water is still swirling set the container labeled stream next to the container labeled shovel and let it rest overnight.
  9. The next day, without disturbing the containers, use your magnifying glass to look carefully at the two containers labeled stream and shovel. What do you observe?

IV. Which picture of the soil above best matches your sample labeled "shovel"?

V. Which picture of the soil above best matches your sample labeled "stream"?

Experiment One Video Tutorial.

Materials that you will need and procedure are listed above!