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Lesson 03 – Soil Particles

Read About Soil Particles


Read the vocabulary terms to understand the reading better.


Clay is tiny pieces of rock that turn into soft gluey mud when mixed with water.


A particle is an extremely tiny piece of matter.


Sand is a mixture of extremely small pieces of different rocks or minerals.


Silt is made up of rock and other tiny particles, and is much smaller than sand.


Texture is how something feels when it is touched.

What Is a Particle?

A particle is a very small piece of something. If you look closely at sand, you will see that it  is made of many very small pieces of rock.  Each piece is a particle.

Soil contains three types of particles—sand, silt, and clay.

Sand: One particle of sand looks tiny, but sand particles are some of the larger particles in soil.

Silt: Silt is made of particles that are much smaller than sand particles. Most mud is made of particles of silt.

Clay: Clay particles are even smaller than silt particles. You would need a microscope to see one particle of clay.

What Is Texture?

Texture is the way something feels. Sandpaper has a rough texture. Glass has a smooth texture. Sand, silt, and clay all have different textures. When you rub each one between your fingers, they all feel different.




When you rub sand between your fingers, you can feel the hard particles. This has a gritty texture.


Silt particles have a smooth texture, like powder. This is because silt particles are much smaller than sand particles.


Dry clay particles stick together. Dry clay is hard, like cement.
Wet clay has a smooth and slippery texture.

Now Show What You Know!

Complete some questions about the reading selection by clicking “Begin Questions” below.