The Importance of Roots

There are many parts of a plant, including the roots. Roots are very important for the plant because they suck the water and nutrients up out of the soil and into the plant. But the roots are not only good for the plant, they are good for soil. When it rains, the roots hold the soil in place so it is not washed away. When soil gets washed away it is called erosion. In places with a lot of rain and not a lot of trees, mudslides can be a big problem. Mudslides can hurt people and animals and also take away all the good soil, making it difficult to grow plants.


  • Erosion – the wearing away of the Earth’s surface by water or air.
  • Top Soil – the soil on the surface of the Earth that is good for growing plants.


  • Set up: 25 min
  • Activity: 5 min

You Will Need:

  • 2 plastic bins (or cardboard bin covered by plastic to create a watertight fit)
  • soil
  • rocks
  • plants or sod
  • tin or tinfoil

Here’s What You Do:

  • Cut two notches in one side of the plastic bin (or cardboard bin). If you are using cardboard, line the bottom with plastic sheeting or plastic bags to create a watertight fit.
  • Shape the tinfoil into a V shape and fit around the notches so that it creates a spout.
  • Fill the bottom of the bins with about 1 inch of rocks
  • Add soil to both bins.
  • Add plants or sod to one of the bins.  Keep the middle of the bin with only the rocks like a river. KEEP ONE BIN WITH ONLY SOIL.
  • Hold up the bin with only soil at an angle.  Pour water down the river and catch it at the bottom with a container.
  • Hold up the bin with the plants at an angle. Pour water down the river and catch it at the bottom with another container.

Questions to Answer:

  • Why is one river so much dirtier that the other?
  • How did the roots of the plants help keep the soil from sliding down the river?
  • What affect would this have on the people who lived in the area without plants?
  • Which river would you want to live near?
  • Which water is more polluted?



The Kids Ecology Corps at Snyder Park

3299 S.W. 4TH Avenue – Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33315 | Phone (954) 524-0366 E-mail:

The Kids Ecology Corps is a program of Partners in Action, Inc., a 501(c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1981, providing educational, cultural and leadership experience to young people encouraging immediate, positive, environmental action. And, continuous, determined action is making Environmental Harmony an idea whose time has come.
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