Edible Soil Layers Activity

March 04, 2014 | 12:03 pm

Grade Levels: K-12

Time: 15 minutes

Group Size: Any

Things to consider: This can be a messy activity! Also in consideration of food allergies, it is necessary to have special permission before performing this activity.

Objectives: Students will learn about the different layers of soil.

Materials Needed:

  • Chocolate Pudding
  • Crushed Oreos
  • Roughly chopped graham crackers
  • Butterscotch chocolate chips OR round tan cereal (ex: Kix, Rease’s Puffs)
  • Green coconut (colored with green food coloring)
  • Sprinkles—preferably a mixed variety with three colors
  • Gummy worms
  • Small clear cups and spoons



1. Prepare or buy chocolate pudding.
2. Have students fill their  cups in the following order and explain what each ingredient represents:

– Butterscotch chocolate chip represents bedrock.  Bedrock is usually a light tan color and is made of rock from the compressed layers of soil above it.  Plant roots do not reach this layer.
– Chopped graham crackers represent a layer of parent material.  A layer of parent material exists between bedrock and subsoil and can contain rocks.  Organisms typically do not exist in this layer, and it is rare to find plant roots.
– Chocolate pudding represents subsoil.  Subsoil contains some nutrients but is also rich in clay.  Subsoil can be found 2-4 feet below are feet.
– Crushed Oreos represent the topsoil.  Topsoil is rich in nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and is essential for plant growth.  Topsoil can be as deep as 2 feet.
– Gummy worms represent real worms!  The topsoil is alive with organisms and organic matter.
– Green coconut represents the many plants that grow in the soil, like grass and flowers.
– Sprinkles represent fertilizer.  Nutrients must be replaced when plants deplete them. One way to do so is with fertilizer.  Fertilizers play an important role in keeping the soil healthy and in growing our food.