Materials List: Lab Experiments in Rebuilding Soil with Biochar

Each group needs:

  • 6 10-oz. cups; cup sizes may vary, but must be large enough to hold 1 cup (8 oz.) of soil and be able to be punctured to create drainage holes in three of them; consider using plastic cups so that you can reuse them for activity Parts 1 and 2 as well as to run the activity with a different group of students
  • scissors, or other cutting tool, to poke holes in the bottoms of three cups
  • measuring cup, 8-oz. size
  • natural clay, loam and sand, 12 oz. of each soil type per group; available at hardware and garden stores, such as Ward’s Science Convenience clay, loam and sandy soils or multi-soil set from Careforde Safety & Scientific, or similar materials that cost less locally
  • microscope with a minimum of 20x magnification
  • spoon, or similar tool, to add biochar to soil (biochar tends to leave a black residue on hands)
  • science notebook, one per student; alternative: numerous sheets of paper
  • clear tape or white glue
  • 100-ml graduated cylinder
  • 600-ml beaker or other container to hold 600 ml of water for students to pour into graduated cylinders in 100-ml increments
  • Soil and Biochar Mixture Lab Sheet, one per student

To share with the entire class:

https://www.teachengineering.org/activities/view/rice_biochar_activity1