Engaging with school children to help them understand how the speed and volume of water can cause the soil to be washed away, how and why it happens and what can be done to help prevent water soil erosion.

The issue

Teaching upper primary students what soil erosion is. Why and how it occurs and explaining what influences soil erosion. Factors such as the volume and speed of water together with what is carried in the water all contribute to the type and severity of erosion.  Explaining how different landscapes, ground types and ground cover behave differently when water flows over them.  Being able to explain and show students how flowing water can have such a big impact on the environment.  Would slowing the water down fix the problem? Why would you do this and how would you go about it?


The solution

Delivering a hands-on activity, together with an interactive worksheet.  Making the activity engaging and fun, enabling students to come up with ideas to minimise soil erosion.  Seeing firsthand what water does when it enters containers filled with just soil, soil and mulch and soil growing grass.  Students could predict what would happen in the containers then see first-hand what did occur when water passed over the surface. Students came up with solutions to minimise erosion in the containers and were then able to address some of the water erosion issues that are occurring in their local area.


The impact

Students were excited to see the activity and if the water caused the reaction they had predicted when it was poured over the containers.  They were also interested in learning new words and terms such as ‘Turbidity’ and ‘Bedload’.  We discussed the meaning of these terms and how they are associated with soil erosion.  Taking the activity outdoors, at their school, gave students the opportunity to look around and see how they could improve water run-off within their local landscape.



Delivering this activity at school or at a local area that has some soil erosion, has more of an impact on students and gives them a chance to see, first-hand the erosion happening in real life. On site also gives students a chance to see what things might be causing erosion but also what might be around them they could use to help prevent/reduce erosion.

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