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Girl Guide and Girl Scout Inspiration

Updated on May 5, 2015

Teaching Girl Guides & Scouts About Soil Erosion

Soil erosion is a very real environmental problem. It leads to the loss of arable topsoil and degrades the ability of the land to produce quality food crops. This topic can be extremely dry and academic for young active girls. Boredom is something we all try to avoid on camp, after all, our girls learn through fun and play. Here’s a hands-on fun way to cover the different aspects of soil erosion that the girls can discover and experiment with themselves. Keen? Let’s get started!


Things that you’ll need:

6- 2l plastic cool drink/ soda bottles

3- 20cm pieces of string

A sharp craft knife.

1 stapler and 6 staples

3 litres of sand + topsoil mix

Leaf litter and plant detritus

  1. 10cm x 30cm swath of grass including the roots.

A watering can with a variety of spout roses that will mimic different types of rain.


Step 1: Preparation of the plastic bottles

Cut the bottoms off of 3 bottles, 10 cm deep cups should be your goal. Use the string to make handles by stapling the string to the cups on either side to make 3 buckets.

Cut windows into the remaining 3 bottles as shown.


Plastic Bottle Preparation

Base of 2l bottle cut in to a collection bucket
Base of 2l bottle cut in to a collection bucket | Source
2l bottle with a window cut out of the side of it.
2l bottle with a window cut out of the side of it. | Source

Poll

What activities do your Guides/ Girl Scouts love to do?

See results

Step 2: Soil

Put 1 litre of sand & soil mix into each of the bottles. The first bottle should be 2 thirds sand and 1 third soil, the second bottle should be half and half and the third bottle should be 1 third sand and 2 thirds.

Step 3: Ground Covering

The first bottle should have no covering, the second should have the leaf litter and detritus and the third should have the grass cover.


Experiment Time

Experiment set up with the 3 ground coverings and buckets in place to catch runoff water.
Experiment set up with the 3 ground coverings and buckets in place to catch runoff water. | Source

Experiment time:

Have the girls line the bottles up beside each other at the same angle. Hang the buckets on the bottle opening as shown and take off the caps. Pour water over all three using the watering can at the same tempo of ‘rain’ on all of them. Make sure that the water flowing through the bottles is being collected by the different buckets. The three buckets should have different levels of sediment and discolouration. The bottle with the grass should be the cleanest and the bottle with no ground cover should be the dirtiest. Dirty water indicates highly erosive ground cover, clean water indicates little erosion. Place the buckets on a piece of white paper to make the differences in colour easier to see. This experiment can be varied in a number of ways:


  • By changing the angles on the bottles simulating different slope angles and the role that the angle of the slope will have on the degree of erosion.

  • By changing the tempo of rain that the different ground cover options are exposed to, ie soft soaking rain vs high intensity rain that results in runoff.


Note: Plant the grass in the bottle a couple of weeks before experimenting so that the roots can be the most effective.

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