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Posts Tagged With: science

I Dig Dirt Soil Lesson

Not all dirt is created equal.  Soil contains sand, clay, air, and organic matter.  The amounts of each of these, however, is different in all kinds of dirt.  Great dirt has lots of air and organic matter; poor soil is full of sand or clay.  Most dirt is somewhere in the middle.

soil lesson

It is possible to tell a lot from the appearance of the dirt.  The closer to black your dirt is the more likely it is to be rich, nutritious soil!

For this soil lesson try investigating the dirt where you live.  Using a small trowel, dig a bit of dirt from your yard.  Get it from under a decorative stone or piece of furniture to avoid making holes in the lawn.  Place the sample in a plastic baggie.  Then look for other places to take a soil sample.  Ask a friend or neighbor, visit a park, maybe even call a family member in another state and ask them to mail you a baggie of dirt!

When you have several samples compare and contrast your soils.  Squeeze a pinch between your fingers.  Does it stick together?  Sticky soil is full of clay.  Does is fall apart?  Maybe it has a lot of sand.  What colors do you see?  Is it light, fluffy dirt like potting soil, or hard as a brick?  Make some notes in your science journal or create a diagram to show the results.

And here’s an interesting soil idea.  Instead of collecting refrigerator magnets or post cards on your travels, pick up a bit of soil from your next vacation site!

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Categories: Science | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Farmers love the Weather Radar

Farmers live by the weather. That is why we keep this website at our fingertips.

www.noaa.gov

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides all kinds of weather related articles, but most important to our farm is the forecast feature!  Type in your town or zip code to get a five-day picture forecast and a detailed seven-day outlook.  We use this site most because we need to know more than today has a 50% chance of rain.

If our tractor is planting we need to know when the rain is coming through.  If the combine across the county we need to know where hail is predicted.  If severe storms are on the way we need to know how they will shape up.

Which means we need 24 hour access to a radar and satalite images.weather graphweather graph

Scroll down a bit and look on the right hand side for pictures like these.  When you click on these images you open pages that allow you to learn in more detail what is happening in the sky.

The radar, which is the picture to your left, is one we really rely on.  The image will show your specific area of the country and the button on the left act like a “play” button so you can watch how the clouds have moved in the last hour.  If today is a clear, cloudless day you might not have much to see, but the next time it storms you can actually view the whole thing on your computer!

Radar helps us see what is happening right now.  Sometimes, however, we need to get a better idea about what is coming in the future.  That is when we turn to the satellite.

The satellite shows temperature and cloud cover across the US.  Weather is created by temperature.  Cold fronts meet warm air and weather happens!   Check out the bar code on the right side and notice that blue colors are cooler and red shades represent warmer regions.  Then you can click on the different images to see temperatures throughout the country.

Watch the temperature and watch the clouds.  Can you see what might be happening?  Sure, reading the forecast is much easier to understand, but if you learn to read the clouds, they will tell you just as much!

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March Myths? Lesson to Record March’s Weather

The saying goes that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  In Missouri, however, I’m pretty sure we get chimps, seals, toucans, and buffalo in there somewhere as well.

For farmers, weather is really important.  We plant when soil temperatures are warm, we can’t do much of anything in the rain, and we hope for few storms and no hail.  But what we want and what we get are often two different things!

In addition to the lion/lamb saying there are several other “wives tales” surrounding March weather.

A dry March and a wet May?Fill barns and bays with corn and hay.

As it rains in March so it rains in June.

March winds and April showers? Bring forth May flowers.

Are any of these true?

Find out by recording the weather this month.  Use a simple calender, or even a piece of notebook paper to write down a few simple facts about the weather each day.  Make note of the temperature, clouds or sunshine, wind, and precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, or hail).

Check back at the end of the month for graph lesson plans to record your data, and look for more weather ideas all through March!

Categories: Science | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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