KS2 Science Quiz - Soil (Questions)

In this KS2 Science quiz we take a look at soil - the earth beneath our feet. This is a mixture of clay, sand, water, air, decaying material and humus (which is rich in nutrients).

Did you know that it can take several hundred years for a layer of soil just one inch thick to form? That is one of the many reasons why topsoil should be preserved and not be allowed to 'run off' or be washed away. But what exactly is soil, or earth, made from? Well, it's a mixture of either sand or clay with water and decayed, or decaying, material called humus. Humus is formed from dead organisms and their nutrients become part of the soil. They can then be taken up by plants and enter the food chain once more.

Do you know which type of earth allows water to drain away best, or whether sandy soil, clay soil or a mixture of both is best for growing crops? Test your knowledge of this precious resource by trying this quiz on soil.

1. Soil is a mixture of several materials. Which of the following is not part of the mixture?
[ ] Water
[ ] Humus
[ ] Air
[ ] Oil
2. What is the decaying material found in soil called?
[ ] Clay
[ ] Humus
[ ] Sand
[ ] Fibre
3. The colour of a soil shows what materials it contains. Having a large amount of iron makes soil which colour?
[ ] Reddish-brown
[ ] Black or dark brown
[ ] Pale greyish-white
[ ] Yellowish-grey
4. Which of the following words describes how well soil allows water to drain away?
[ ] Compacted
[ ] Decay
[ ] Suitability
[ ] Permeability
5. Which soil is best for growing a wide variety of crops?
[ ] Heavy clay soil
[ ] Sandy soil
[ ] Loam
[ ] Acidic soil
6. Soil provides which of the following?
[ ] A home for plants and animals
[ ] Nutrients for plants
[ ] An environment for waste decomposition (rotting)
[ ] All of the above
7. Heathers, flowering plants which commonly grow on moors, prefer which type of soil?
[ ] Chalky soil
[ ] Acid soil
[ ] Waterlogged soil
[ ] Alkaline soil
8. You can test soil type by rolling a small amount of soil between your fingers. How would you know if you had a clay soil?
[ ] The soil would stick together, but only if you squeezed it with some force
[ ] The soil would crumble easily
[ ] The soil would stick together easily
[ ] None of the above
9. Which type of soil would crumble easily if you rubbed it between your fingers?
[ ] Sandy soil
[ ] Loam
[ ] Acidic soil
[ ] Clay soil
10. How would you test the permeability of soil?
[ ] By rolling some soil between your fingers
[ ] By waiting for rain and then observing the soil
[ ] By measuring how much water you pour into pots of different soils and comparing how much drains away
[ ] By watering the soil and letting it drain onto litmus paper

 

KS2 Science Quiz - Soil (Answers)
1. Soil is a mixture of several materials. Which of the following is not part of the mixture?
[ ] Water
[ ] Humus
[ ] Air
[x] Oil
Soil also contains weathered bedrock, clay and sand
2. What is the decaying material found in soil called?
[ ] Clay
[x] Humus
[ ] Sand
[ ] Fibre
Humus is the decayed remains of organisms (plants, animals, insects, etc.) that have died
3. The colour of a soil shows what materials it contains. Having a large amount of iron makes soil which colour?
[x] Reddish-brown
[ ] Black or dark brown
[ ] Pale greyish-white
[ ] Yellowish-grey
Soils containing a lot of iron become a rusty colour
4. Which of the following words describes how well soil allows water to drain away?
[ ] Compacted
[ ] Decay
[ ] Suitability
[x] Permeability
The more permeable soil is, the easier it is for water to drain away - less-permeable soil holds water better
5. Which soil is best for growing a wide variety of crops?
[ ] Heavy clay soil
[ ] Sandy soil
[x] Loam
[ ] Acidic soil
Loam is very fertile because it has plenty of humus to provide nutrients to the plants; it is also permeable enough to contain air, but not so permeable that it allows water to drain away too quickly
6. Soil provides which of the following?
[ ] A home for plants and animals
[ ] Nutrients for plants
[ ] An environment for waste decomposition (rotting)
[x] All of the above
We rely on soil for many things
7. Heathers, flowering plants which commonly grow on moors, prefer which type of soil?
[ ] Chalky soil
[x] Acid soil
[ ] Waterlogged soil
[ ] Alkaline soil
Climate has an important effect on soil - high rainfall will usually produce an acidic soil
8. You can test soil type by rolling a small amount of soil between your fingers. How would you know if you had a clay soil?
[ ] The soil would stick together, but only if you squeezed it with some force
[ ] The soil would crumble easily
[x] The soil would stick together easily
[ ] None of the above
Clay soil is sticky when wet, and forms hard lumps. In hot weather it often cracks
9. Which type of soil would crumble easily if you rubbed it between your fingers?
[x] Sandy soil
[ ] Loam
[ ] Acidic soil
[ ] Clay soil
Sandy soil does not hold moisture very well
10. How would you test the permeability of soil?
[ ] By rolling some soil between your fingers
[ ] By waiting for rain and then observing the soil
[x] By measuring how much water you pour into pots of different soils and comparing how much drains away
[ ] By watering the soil and letting it drain onto litmus paper
Observing after rain might give you a rough idea but measuring how much water drains would be a proper scientific test