In this activity, students learn to read and interpret aspects of soil moisture maps and compare data by location and over time.

This activity complements the activity Investigating soil moisture content. It also supports the nature of science achievement aims Communicating in science and the science capability Interpret representations .

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • use scientific vocabulary
  • find the field capacity of a soil sample
  • identify the elements of soil moisture maps
  • discuss the purpose of soil moisture maps
  • read/interpret maps to compare data by region
  • read/interpret maps to compare data over time.

Download the Word file (see link below) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • extension ideas
  • student handout.

Nature of Science

Scientists often use maps to represent data. The National Institute of Weather and Atmospheric Research collects soil moisture data from around New Zealand and displays it in map form. Visual representations – like maps – can be easier to read than tables of numbers.

    Published 6 April 2016