SMAP Resources


smap training
GLOBE Partner, Izolda Trakhtenberg, teaching GLOBE participants
about soil type and soil characterization at the 2013 GLOBE Annual Partners Meeting


Optional Protocols:

  • Soil Characterization: Students will identify horizons in a soil profile, observe the structure, color, consistence, texture, and the presence of rocks, roots, and carbonates of each horizon, and take samples for use in laboratory characterization protocols.
  • Soil Temperature: Students will measure near-surface soil temperature frequently near local solar noon and seasonally throughout two diurnal cycles.
  • Soil Infiltration: Students will use a dual ring infiltrometer that they can construct from large food container cans to measure the rate at which water soaks into the soil during a roughly 45-minute period.

Learning Activities:

  • Just Passing Through - Beginners: Beginning students are introduced to the basic concepts of how water passes through soil in an activity which illustrates the scientific method
  • Just Passing Through: More advanced students investigate the effects of soil characteristics on water infiltration and the chemistry of water that has passed through soil.
  • From Mud Pies to Bricks: Students make mud pies by adding water to the various soil components, letting them dry and observing the pie's characteristics.
  • Soil and My Backyard: Students collect, describe and compare soils from their own backyards.
  • A Field View of Soil: Students discover that soil properties such as moisture and temperature can vary considerably across a single landscape.
  • Soil as Sponges: Students explore soil moisture by weighing and drying sponges and then they explore their soil samples in the same way.

NASA eClips Videos:

What is soil screenshot
Our World: What is Soil? (elementary school level)
Real World screen shot
Real World: What is Soil Moisture?
(middle school level)


Launchpad: Space Age Technologies Measure Soil
Moisture (high school level)

Instructional PowerPoints:

Soil Moisture: Its Importance, and How it Touches our Lives:  Dr. Narendra Das, of the Earth Science Division at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is  a member of the SMAP mission Algorithm Development Team. He led the SMAP instructional activities, and presented this informational PowerPoint presentation,  at the GLOBE Learning Expedition (GLE) in New Delhi, in August 2014.

SMAP Whiteboard Video: