Introductory soil analysis laboratory practicals

Resource file(s):

This bundle consists of materials for a laboratory practical where students work in small groups to carry out basic measurements on soil samples.

Original Context: This material is designed for first semester Level 4 students on Geography or Environmental Science Programmes (shared module). Students had the opportunity to attend a day trip from the department earlier in the semester, where among other activities they collected samples of top soil from two patches of woodland, one dominated by coniferous trees and one dominated by deciduous trees. In this practical, they carry out laboratory measurements of several soil properties. The original practical was timetabled for 2 hours, and was their first experience in a teaching laboratory at the university.

Original Assessment: The laboratory report was set up as a quiz in the VLE, using mostly short answer format questions, which allowed for relatively easy marking. In the original module, the assignment was formative.

Materials included in the bundle:

Before the class:

  • Slidedeck from pre-class lecture
  • Laboratory set up notes

Class handouts:

  • Introduction handout for students
  • Blank data recording sheet
  • Brief explanation of parameter and list of steps for loss-on-ignition analysis
  • Brief explanation of parameter and list of steps for measurement of Electrical Conductivity
  • Brief explanation of parameter and list of steps for measurement of pH
  • Notes on how to use an electronic balance


  • Assessment instructions for students
  • Assessment model answer for students
  • Copy of dataset provided to students who could not attend the lab so that they could write up a report
Created by M Jane Bunting
on 2023-10-03