The children were investigating our local soil and by conducting different tests on the soil they were trying to find out what kind of soil was found in the local area.
The children needed to roll the soil into a ball, they needed to feel the ball with their fingers to find out if it was gritty (sand), silky (silt) or plastic/sticky (clay). If it started to fall apart and they could not make a ball, then the soil is very sandy.
Then they needed to roll the ball between their hands to start making a ribbon. If the ribbon starts to fall apart, then you have sandy loam.
Finally, they tried to see if they could create a short ribbon before it started falling apart, then the soil is another type of loam.
However, if they could make a long ribbon, then there is definitely clay in the soil.