George was a black man born in 1864 in Missouri. He lived to be 79 years old. George loved to learn about plants. He was the only black man at his college. He studied long and hard. George spent his life teaching others about plants. He taught farmers that dirt was like a living thing. It got hungry and thirsty, needing both healthy food and water to stay healthy. He helped farmers understand that if you grow the same plant on the same soil every year for a long time the soil will not be healthy any more. And if the soil is not healthy, the plants won’t be healthy. George liked teaching the farmers how to make the soil and plants healthy. He liked to experiment with peanuts because they were healthy for people to eat. He invented many ways to use peanuts to make different foods. He said, “The primary idea in all my work was to help the farmer and fill the poor man’s empty dinner pail.”
Use this information about George Washington Carver and the Farm’s soil science kit to begin a scientific study on soil.
- Go to the garden.
- Use a ruler and Popsicle sticks to mark out a 12-inch square for each student.
- Each student will use the trowel to put soil into his or her scientific observation tray.
- Use magnifying glasses to observe what makes up soil. Look for bits of organic matter. What are they? (Hay, sticks, leaves, etc.) What color is the soil? What does it feel like, smell like? What kind of soil critters are in your sample, how many?
- Show the students the example of unhealthy soil. Compare.
- Make a class chart on the soil ingredients found in healthy soil including insects.
- Will the healthy soil or unhealthy soil help plants grow better?
- What is in the healthy soil that makes it healthy?
- What do you put in your body to make yourself healthy?
- What is the connection between healthy soil and your healthy body?