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It's more than just dirt. Soil gives us life and food. Find out all about soil, bugs, beetles and other stuff, and how they affect the crops we grow and the food we eat. Whether it's corn, soybeans, tomatoes, or zinnias, this project can help you learn more about how plants grow. \

CLICK HERE to download the Spark Sheet

Project Levels

PLANTS & SOILS 1

In level 1, collect soil and discover what animal life is present, learn how plants prevent soil erosion, conduct soil tests, and compare how soil types affect growth.

PLANTS & SOILS 2

In level 2, identify stage of plant life cycles, recognize plant parts, experiment with seed germination methods, and propagate plants.

PLANTS & SOILS 3

In level 3, learn how plants compete for air, water, light, and nutrients; demonstrate the importance of soil nutrients in healthy plant growth; learn how plants adapt to different light levels; and understand seeds and planting depths.

Resources to help you learn

  • Plants & Soils 1: It's More Than Just Dirt
  • Plants & Soils 2: Stems and Stamens
  • Plants & Soils 3: Sprouting Out and Growing Up

State Fair Guidelines

Plants & Soils Maker (SF 50400)

Counties may submit 3 entries TOTAL combined from all Maker exhibit divisions.

Exhibits in this category are designed to be multi-disciplinary in nature, innovative, and must not fit into any other exhibit category. To qualify for this category, your project MUST abide by the following guidelines:

  • Exhibits must be an object or device that has an intended purpose and uses technology in either a mechanical way, digital (computer) way, or combination of the two.
  • The device must be something that can be used in everyday life by multiple people (a target audience), and MUST be manufactured/built by the exhibitor (If not fully manufactured by the exhibitor, the device MUST be modified structurally or be reprogramed to perform a different function other than what it was designed to do
  • Exhibit MUST be able to interact with the outside world. (e.g. an on off switch, input sensors, feedback, etc.)
  • Exhibits MUST include a detailed build log with instructions on how to make or build the exhibit, AND contain either a 3D rendering or detailed and labeled sketches of the device/product.
  • All parts and software used in the design/build MUST be listed in a detailed Bill of Materials including cost per item and total cost. Total time spent on the build must be documented in your build log.

In addition, exhibitors are HIGHLY encouraged to use tools such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, routers and/or other hand/power tools to help in the manufacturing process (NOTE: Simply 3-D printing or laser cutting an object without the other specifications does not qualify as a Maker Project). It is also HIGHLY encouraged that exhibits use Open Source Software and/or Hardware in the build.

Recommended Local Exhibit Guidelines

Check your local showbook to confirm rules for your county show. This project does not advance to State Fair.

Plants & Soils 1 

Prepare a display or poster that illustrates an activity from the project manual. The display should demonstrate an understanding of environmental and internal factors that affect plant growth and the function and characteristics of soil. Include your project journal that documents activity recordkeeping requirements, answers activity questions, and details personal thoughts and ideas.

Plants & Soils 2

Prepare a display or poster that illustrates an activity from the project manual. The display should demonstrate an understanding of the composition of plants, the functions of individual plant parts, plant life cycles, and the many ways plants reproduce. Include your project journal that documents activity recordkeeping, answers activity questions, and details personal thoughts and ideas.

Plants & Soils 3

Prepare a display or poster that illustrates an activity from the project manual. The display should demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between soil and other cycles found in nature. Displays should also provide an example of a leadership or service-learning experience focused on environmental stewardship. Include your project journal that documents activity recordkeeping requirements, answers activity questions, and details personal thoughts and ideas. 

Plants & Soils Ready4Life Challenge

Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in any Plants & Soils project. Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.