This laboratory manual was designed for students in undergraduate, introductory soil science courses, and highlights the many aspects of soil science, including: soil genesis and classification, soil physical properties, soil-water interaction, soil biology, soil chemistry, and soil fertility. The work required for the laboratory is contained within this manual with the exception of homework (quizzes, problem sets, and lab summaries). The manual includes 15 different laboratories. For any particular lab session, the schedule is as follows:

  1. Review the procedures for the lab and complete any assignments.
  2. Read the textbook assignment and complete the pre-lab assignment questions.
  3. Conduct the lab activities and tabulate data as required.
  4. Complete post-lab online quiz, problem sets, or write the lab summary as required.

The format of each laboratory is explained below.

Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are provided at the beginning of each lab that outlines the target outcomes for the lab activities and assignment. A materials list is also provided, and includes all materials required to perform the in-lab activities.

Recommended Reading and Viewing

Each lab includes a list of references that are free and available online. These resources will provide context for each lab, and will help you answer most of the pre-lab assignment questions.

Pre-Lab Assignment

For each lab, you must read an applicable section in the textbook. When appropriate, you will complete a pre-lab online quiz.


Each lab begins with a brief review of information for the lab topic.

In-Lab Activities

Some introductory material is presented, and then procedures for various activities are given. A shovel icon, is used to indicate when answers to questions in the activity are required.

Post-Lab Assignment

Each lab exercise will have one graded activity, which may include an online lab quiz, a problem set, or a lab summary. Due dates for each assignment will be designated at the time, but generally, assignments are due within one week of the day assigned.

Online Lab Quizzes

In some labs, the results of activities do not lend themselves to formal lab reports or problem sets. In labs of this type students must complete a post lab quiz via K-State Online. Quizzes are worth 20 points.

Problem Sets

Several of the topics in the course require applied math and chemistry skills. To develop and practice these skills, problem sets will be used either in lab or given as a take-home assignment. Problem sets are worth 30 points.

Lab Summaries and Reports

In several of the labs, you will explore your experimental laboratory results in more detail. Instructions for these lab summaries will be provided later. Lab summaries are worth 40 points.


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Soils Laboratory Manual Copyright © 2017, 2019, 2021 by Colby J. Moorberg & David A. Crouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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