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Lesson 02 – What Is Soil Made Of?

Read About What Soil is Made of


Read the vocabulary terms to understand the reading better.


Bacteria are microscopic creatures that live in all natural environment.


Fertilizer is a chemical or natural substance added to soil or land to help plants grow.

Living Things

Living things are things that can grow, use nutrients, and produce young.


A microscope is a very powerful magnifying glass that allows you to look at tiny objects.

Non-Living Things

Non-living things are things that are not alive.


Soil is a mixture of minerals and organisms that cover most of the earth’s surface and is where plants grow.

What Is Soil Made Of?

Soil is made of many things. We can put these things in two groups: living things and non-living things.

Living Things
Non-living Things in Soil
Living Things

Did you know that soil is full of living things? If you dig in garden soil, you will probably see worms. If you look very closely, you might see tiny insects, too. There are many more living things in soil. Many are too small to see.

Bacteria are tiny creatures that live in soil. Bacteria are so tiny that you need to use a microscope to see them. In one handful of soil, there might be thousands and thousands of tiny bacteria.

Non-living Things in Soil

Non-living things are no longer alive or were never alive.

Water and air are two non-living things in soil. You probably will not see water in soil. When soil feels moist, there is water in it. You can not see air, but there is air in soil. Air fills the tiny spaces in soil.

Rock is another non-living part of soil. You may find large rocks or small pebbles in soil. Soil also contains tiny pieces of rock, such as sand.

Sometimes people put non-living things into soil. They add fertilizer to soil to help plants grow. They spray plants to kill harmful insects. Some of that spray goes into the soil. They put salt on roads and sidewalks to melt the winter ice. That salt ends up in the soil.

To learn more about soil, watch the video by SciShow Kids on Youtube.

Now Show What You Know!

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