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Martin Walker students learn how drought conditions affect the dinner table


Special to the Leader-Press 


Soil moisture levels continue to decline in most areas of Texas after months of below average rainfall and as warm-season crop plantings and preparations increase. 

Martin Walker Elementary kindergarten students learned about the properties and uses of soil and how they affect the food they are enjoying at the dinner table each night. 

The young scholars observed and described physical properties of natural sources of water, including color and clarity and learned the many ways rocks, soil, and water are useful.

“Students observed three soil samples and did an experiment to be able to view the texture of the samples,” teacher Sarah Yokubaitis said. “After mixing soil with water, it separates into layers. The next day, students were able to clearly see the organic matter, clay, silt, and sand in the soil samples. Students enjoy learning more about the natural world.”

According to Texas A&M AgriLife Research, warmer temperatures are expected during the spring and summer seasons because of drier conditions this winter. There’s no swamp cooling effect that is typical when there’s moisture in the soil and air. 

Student Addison Johnson enjoyed seeing the different layers of the various soils and dug her hands in deep up past her wrists. 

“I like the feel of the dirt. It was wet and soft. I thought it might have a worm in it but there wasn’t,” Johnson said. “We learned about soil and also what it was made of.”

Tuesday’s rain across Central Texas helped growing crops and refilling ponds, lakes, and reservoirs, but it is not nearly enough to make up for the abnormally dry and warm conditions the last several months. Plantings and fieldwork that require regular amounts of rainfall are being delayed in the hopes that more moisture will arrive sooner than later.

Kindergartener Alexander Sheldon smiled as he touched the different soil samples to which his teacher added water. It was a much different feeling than the soil at his home.

“I like the feeling because it was soft,” said Sheldon adding that one element in Texas soil did not change—rain or no rain. “I found lots of rocks in it.”

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