Materials List: Biochar:
Measuring and Improving Soil Function

Each group needs:

  • 50-ml (or larger) graduated cylinder
  • laboratory-grade metal ware set—suggested dimensions: support stand (8" x 5"), rod (24" height, 12mm diameter), cork lined burette clasp with metal retort ring (2.5" diameter) available at Amazon
  • 100 g of soils (one of each type: clay, sand, silt and loam) available at Wards’s Science
    • Note: loam is a mix of clay, silt, and sand
  • 6 g biochar, available at Amazon
  • 91 cm (½ yard) of organza or similar type fabric (for example, silky fabric used in curtains, dryer sheets) available at Amazon 
  • stopwatch
  • 4 rubber bands
  • 200-ml graduated cylinder, for measuring water
  • 4–5 funnels (optional), available at Amazon
  • mortar and pestle (optional), available at Amazon
  • access to a computer with PowerPoint® to view the Measurements with Biochar Presentation; alternatively, print out the slide presentation
  • Lab Presentation Rubric

For the class to share:

  • scale, such as a scientific scale or simple kitchen scale, to measure 2 g to 50 g
  • plastic graduated cylinders or plastic 2-liter soda bottles; students can cut and/or redesign a soda bottle to imitate the functions of a graduated cylinder; for example, turning a 2-liter bottle upside down and using the bottle top as the draining point 
  • funnels for pouring soil types into the graduated cylinders
  • scissors, for cutting the plastic graduated cylinders or soda bottles
  • masking tape and markers, for labeling graduated cylinders