Students use the art of soil painting to explore science and the natural world while learning about the color wheel, the importance of soil to agriculture, and why soils have different colors. Grades 3-5
In this lesson, students will gain background knowledge of the nutrient requirements of plants, how those nutrients are obtained by the plant, what farmers must do if the nutrients are not available in soils, and current issues related to agricultural production. Grades 6-8
Students discover that topsoil is a nonrenewable resource and use an apple to represent how Earth’s land resources are used. Through critical thinking, students study agricultural land use and consider the sustainability of current land use practices including the use of land to feed and graze livestock animals. Grades 9-12
Students explore living and nonliving things, determine how nonliving resources help sustain plant life, and experiment with visual arts techniques through an examination of texture in the natural world. Activities in this lesson include collecting and categorizing items from the natural environment, creating seed and soil mosaics, making clay imprints, and coloring cloth with plant materials. Grades 3-5
Students explore living and nonliving things, determine how nonliving resources help sustain plant life, and experiment with visual arts techniques through an examination of texture in the natural world. Activities in this lesson include collecting and categorizing items from the natural environment, creating seed and soil mosaics, making clay imprints, and coloring cloth with plant materials. Grades K-2
In this lesson students will recognize that fertile soil is a limited resource to produce food for a growing population, describe the role fertilizer plays to increase food productivity, distinguish between organic and commercial fertilizers, and recognize how excess nutrients are harmful to the environment. Grades 6-8
Students will recognize that fertile soil is a limited resource, describe the role fertilizer plays in increasing food productivity, distinguish between organic and commercial fertilizers, describe how excess nutrients are harmful to the environment, and identify different sources of nutrient pollution. Grades 9-12
Students will learn how the events of World War I helped spark the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and the resulting New Deal by watching a video and participating in a round robin, responding in writing to images and sound bites from the Dust Bowl, and observing a wind erosion demonstration. Grades 9-12
Students recognize how geography and climate allow for the growth of maple trees and the process of making syrup, identify the characteristics of maple trees that produce the best sap for making maple syrup, and name the steps in the process of creating syrup from sap. Grades K-2
Students use the story of The Empty Pot to explore literature and science, practicing story mapping and examining the needs of plants and the importance of soil and water. Like the characters in the story, students plant and observe the growth of seeds. Grades 3-5
Students use the story of The Empty Pot to explore literature and science, practicing story mapping and examining the needs of plants and the importance of soil and water. Like the characters in the story, students plant and observe the growth of seeds. Grades K-2
Students will engage with the Growing a Nation timeline to explore the significant historical and agricultural events and inventions from American history during the years 1930-1949. Students will examine the cause and impact of the Dust Bowl, recognize how the Dust Bowl contributed to the Great Depression, and describe the government's response to assist farmers in the 1930s. Grades 9-12
In this lesson students will learn the definition of an essential element, compare and contrast the essential nutrient requirements of plants and humans, explain why plants cannot use elemental nitrogen found in the atmosphere, and identify the sources for each essential nutrient needed by plants. Grades 6-8
Students explore the meaning of essential elements and use periodic tables to compare the elements that are essential to people and plants. Students discover where in the environment plants obtain each of their essential elements. Grades 9-12
Students will identify nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus as primary soil nutrients necessary in the production of abundant and healthy foods, describe various methods of replenishing soil nutrients that have been depleted by plant growth, discover how overall plant health impacts a plant’s ability to resist disease and pests and describe what best management practices are in agriculture to improve overall sustainability. Grades 6-8
Students will identify nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus as primary soil nutrients necessary in the production of abundant and healthy foods, describe various methods of replenishing soil nutrients that have been depleted by plant growth, discover how overall plant health impacts a plant’s ability to resist disease and pests and describe what best management practices are in agriculture to improve overall sustainability. Grades 9-12
In this lesson, students will test for plant-available soil nitrogen and learn how farmers use this test to precisely match fertilizer application to meet crop needs and reduce the amount of nitrogen left in the soil. Grades 9-12
Students use an apple to represent the Earth and discover how our land resources are used. Through critical thinking, students discover why topsoil is a nonrenewable resource, the importance of soil to our food supply, and factors that impact topsoil distribution in different regions. Grades 6-8
In this lesson, students will learn about solutes and solvents and will use serial dilution while investigating parts per million—a term used to describe the nutrient concentration of a fertilizer solution. Grades 9-12
Students define nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium as soil nutrients, explain that plants use soil nutrients as they grow, discover that fertilizer replaces depleted nutrients, and analyze information on seed packets to determine the needs different plants have for growth. Grades 3-5
Students discuss the definition of “fertilizer” and relate it to plant nutrition and the need to restore nutrient balance in agricultural soils. They discuss how people and crops can suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Students assume the roles of plant doctors and diagnose nutrient deficiencies in corn plants. Grades 6-8
Students will recognize that plants, like people, require essential nutrients to be present in the right amounts in order to be healthy, use reference materials to diagnose plant nutrient deficiencies, define fertilizer as a type of “food” for plants, and appreciate that fertilizers are used to replenish nutrients in agricultural soils. Grades 9-12
Students discover how plants and soils interact by observing root growth, considering the function of a plant’s roots, modeling the movement of water into the roots, and investigating the movement of water and nutrients throughout the plant. Grades 3-5
Students will recognize that plants remove nutrients from the soil, explain the roles of diffusion and active transport in moving nutrients from the soil to the plant, and relate the root and vascular systems of the plant to the human circulatory system. Grades 6-8
Students will explain the roles of diffusion and active transport in moving nutrients from the soil to the plant, describe the formation of soil and soil horizons; and describe the events in the Great Dust Bowl, how they relate to soil horizons, and how those events affected agricultural practices. Grades 9-12
Students discover that different soils have different characteristics, examine different types of soil, investigate soil components, and observe how air space allows soils to hold and transmit water. Grades 3-5
Students examine different types of soil that have been mixed with water and allowed to settle. Next, they work with a soil model to investigate its components (sand, silt, and clay) and learn how the properties of these components affect the passage or retention of water through the soil and the amount of air in the soil. Grades 9-12
Students observe soil ecosystems to investigate how human impact affects the biodiversity of soils using the Simpson's Index of Diversity. Then, students conduct an investigation using field corn to determine how the introduction of nitrogen fertilizers impact soil microorganisms and biodiversity. Grades 9-12
Students observe the interactions between living plants and other living and nonliving things in a small terrarium environment and discuss similarities between the terrarium environment and the farm environment. Grades 3-5
In this lesson, students will learn how to read a fertilizer label, understand the components of fertilizers, and explore factors for choosing the appropriate fertilizer for a given situation. Students will use their knowledge and conduct research on one type of soil supplement to design a persuasive product advertisement. Grades 6-8
Students investigate the effects of added soil nutrients on water quality, perform chemical and physical tests on water samples, collect and identify macroinvertebrates from a freshwater system and compare physical, chemical and biological factors of an aquatic ecosystem to determine water health. Grades 6-8
Students develop an understanding of what factors impact water quality within watersheds, what soil types/profiles are most susceptible to erosion, and what factors impact water quality within watersheds and how to mitigate erosion on susceptible soils. Grades 6-8
In this lesson students will measure the pH of a soil sample and learn how pH affects the availability of nutrient uptake by plants. Students will determine if and how their soil pH should be modified through the application of soil amendments. Grades 9-12
Students observe how earthworms speed the decomposition of organic matter and identify how this adds nutrients to the soil that are important for plant growth by constructing worm habitats from milk jugs. Grades 3-5
Composting is the process of creating nutrient-rich soil from decomposing organic matter like grass, leaves, and food scraps. Construct a compost bottle using a clear container, bottle, or jar and observe the organic matter break down into soil rich in nutrients that can be used in a garden. Instructions available in English and Spanish.
Vermicomposting in your classroom is an effective way to engage students with a wide variety of science concepts. This activity will show you how to make your own worm bin out of a recycled styrofoam cooler. Prepare the cooler ahead of time, and then have students add the bedding, worms, and vegetable scraps.
Use these instructions from KidsGardening.org to make seed balls as a fun and inexpensive way to sow native plants and flowers! Seed balls are a small collection of seeds, compost/soil, and clay. They are commonly used to revegetate areas burned by wildfires but can also be used on a smaller scale in home gardens and classrooms.
The Garden Show is a 25-minute musical play for grades 1-5 that ties well with science curriculum. Students learn about soil, plants, photosynthesis, pollination, and garden creatures from a wild bunch of characters, including dive-bombing bees, aliens from planet Chlorophyll, and a singing compost pile.
Farmers work with nature. Soil nutrients, planting, weed and insect control, machinery work, crop records and harvest are things farmers can control and manage. Farmers cannot control the weather. Crops may need to be planted more than once in the spring. Most crops are ready for harvest in late summer and fall but may be wiped out by a single weather event. Play the weather harvest game to see if you will be able to bring in your crop. Order this game online from agclassroomstore.com.
George Washington Carver often said, "A weed is a flower growing in the wrong place." From humble beginnings, Carver became one of the greatest scientists in the United States. His dedication to helping his people led him to find over three hundred uses for the peanut and over one hundred uses for the sweet potato. A simple biography of the man born a slave, who became a scientist and devoted his entire life to helping the South improve its agriculture.
Agronomy Grow with It! explores the science of agriculture. Agronomy is the science we use to grow the crops that feed us, feed our livestock, and even fuel our cars. It's a science that tackles the big challenge of our future: How can we grow enough food to end world hunger and, at the same time, adapt to a changing climate and protect our environment? This book introduces you to 20 real agronomists who face that challenge every day.
Chef Alice Waters has always been friends with food. The search for good food led Alice Waters to France, and then back to Berkeley, California, where she started Chez Panisse restaurant and the Edible Schoolyard. For Alice, a delicious meal does not start in the kitchen, but in the fields with good soil and caring farmers.
How do plants survive when they can't run away from danger? Plants can live in diverse places such as under water, in deserts, cold climates, high elevations or even on other plants. They must contend with storms, fire, poor soils, and hungry animals and insects. Fortunately plants can grow from spores, seeds, or vegetatively and often get a helping hand from people. Plants are cultivated to provide fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, and fibers such as cotton as well as for wood, paper, and many other products. The book concludes by noting a few of the habitats plants help create such as forests, prairies, and marshes as the comical plant characters conclude that they do indeed have amazing powers. Several related activities are listed such as a plant power scavenger hunt, a writing prompt: My Plant Power, and a kitchen scrap garden.
Gram and Joe love to spend time together taking care of the vegetable patch, but it takes a lot of patience. There's digging time, planting time, weeding time, watering time, even thinking time. Meanwhile, the seasons change, and while Gram does things her way, Joe does things his way. But come harvest, each will find wondrous surprises, thanks to the benevolence of the good brown earth.
Welcome to the fascinating world of your own backyard, where more than 125 bugs, worms, and small critters play out the drama of life in miniature. Seven life-size, backyard environments from the soil to the vegetable garden to the air above are vividly depicted in enticingly lush photographic scenes. Scenes are followed by informational spreads which identify all the animals pictured and relate intriguing facts about survival in each environment. The book includes natural science projects, essential safety information, and an inviting 'visual index' for easy reference.
Big Book of Big Tractors is a large, full color book that gets even bigger with it's fold out pages. Students will learn the names of many machines and implements used on the farms that grow and harvest their food. How do machines dig in the soil and plant seeds? What kind of tools make physical labor on a farm easier by lifting heavy objects or performing the work of many people? How do machines harvest grains, hay, cotton, and other agricultural products? How are tractors and large machines used off the farm? These questions and more are answered and can serve as a companion to lessons about machines, harvesting, and engineering (STEM).
Part of the How Fruits and Vegetables Grow set, this title highlights the life cycle of a carrot and gives examples of other plant-based foods that grow underground. Designed for early readers, the book includes a list of additional resources and a glossary.
This highly readable portrait is about the Okies driven to California by the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s and the formidable hardships they faced. The desperation of their lives in the Midwest is described and then we follow the Okes on their trek across the western United States to the promise of work in California, where their hopes are dashed. Weedpatch Camp is the farm-labor camp built by the federal government, that educator Leo Hart creates a federal emergency school. The book includes period black and white photographs depicting the hardships and the school.
An entertaining children's book designed to inform young readers/listeners about worms, composting, and soil nutrients. It uses Dr. Seuss like poetry and child-like illustrations to explain the process.
Dead leaves, food scraps, and grass clippings for lunch? Small animals, fungi, and bacteria called decomposers turn trash into a tasty compost treat. Learn more about compost and how you can use it in your garden or yard.
When the dust storms of the 1930s threatened to destroy U.S. farming and agriculture, Hugh Bennett knew what to do. For decades, he had studied the soils in every state, creating maps showing soil composition nationwide. He knew what should be grown in each area, and how to manage the land to conserve the soil. He knew what to do for weathering and erosion. To do that, he needed the government's help. But how do you convince politicians that the soil needs help? Hugh Bennett knew what to do. He waited for the wind. This is the exciting story of a soil scientist confronting politicians to encourage them to pass a law to protect the land, the soil. When the U.S. Congress passed a law establishing the Soil Conservation Service, it was the first government agency in the world dedicated to protecting the land, to protecting the Earth.
This book provides a detailed overview of how farmers grow crops, exploring topics like why soil is important, what a grain crop is, how farmers grow fruits and nuts on trees, and how farmers pick crops. Important vocabulary words are highlighted and defined in a glossary at the end.
Will Allen is no ordinary farmer. A former basketball star, he's as tall as a truck, and he can hold a cabbage—or a basketball—in one hand. But what is most special about Farmer Will is that he can see what others can't see. When he looked at an abandoned city lot in Milwaukee, he saw a huge table, big enough to feed the whole world. No space? No problem. Poor soil? There's a solution. Need help? Found it. Farmer Will is a genius in solving problems. Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells the inspiring story of an innovator, educator, and community leader.
George Washington Carver was a scientist, educator, artist, inventor, and humanitarian. Born into slavery during the Civil War, he later pursued an education and would become the first black graduate from Iowa Agricultural College. Carver then took a teaching position at the Tuskegee Institute, founded by Booker T. Washington. There Carver taught poor Southern farmers how to nourish the soil, conserve resources, and feed their families. He also developed hundreds of new products from the sweet potato, peanut, and other crops, and his discoveries gained him a place in the national spotlight. George Washington Carver for Kids tells the inspiring story of this remarkable American. It includes a time line, resources for further research, and 21 hands-on activities to help better appreciate Carver's genius.
Born into slavery, George Washington Carver worked hard, earned a university graduate degree, and eventually became a world-famous expert on plants. By experimenting with peanuts and other plants, he learned how to make many useful products from them. Carver taught students and farmers how to grow plants without damaging the soil.
Gwendolyn longs for a pet. What kind? Any kind! How many legs? Two, four, ten—she's not picky! But her parents have other ideas, and instead they give her...a box of dirt. "It smells of swamp," Gwendolyn says—but her parents say it smells of possibilities. And once Gwendolyn gets savvy about seeds and soil, sun, and shade, she finds they are right. The dirt starts performing some amazing tricks, and soon she has a whole pet garden of her very own—it might not have "any legs at all, but it was alive, and Gwendolyn could tallk to it, care for it, and watch it grow." Gwendolyn's enthusiasm and pride are sure to inspire gardeners and inspiring gardeners alike.
This book is perfect for classrooms exploring seeds and experimenting with germination for the first time. The book shows a simple method of germinating bean seeds that is easy to follow along with in the classroom. The pictures are beautiful while at the same time presenting important and accurate scientific information.
Sally is a young girl living in rural Alabama in the early 1900s, a time when people were struggling to grow food in soil that had been depleted by years of cotton production. One day, Dr. George Washington Carver shows up to help. He teaches them how to restore the soil nutrients. He even prepares a delicious lunch made of plants, including "chicken" made from peanuts. Susan Grigsby's warm story shines new light on an African American scientist who was ahead of his time.
Come to the garden that Jack planted. You will see seeds and seedlings, buds and leaves. You will meet birds and bugs and butterflies. And best of all, you will watch the garden bloom! And maybe you will plant a garden yourself!
A star-nosed mole shows off all the different kinds of dirt in his garden, helps us to understand how dirt is formed and what's in it, and points out many of the incredible creatures who live in the dirt. Young readers will learn fascinating scientific information about the different soil layers, or horizons, and find out how the soil that plants grow in differs from the soil that building foundations sit in.
Have fun on this poetic tour through the leaf litter layer and dig into the fascinating facts about the tiny critters who live there. Nineteen poems in a variety of verse forms with accompanying science notes take readers on a decomposer safari through the "brown food web," from bacteria through tardigrades and on to rove beetle predators with other busy recyclers in-between. Glossary, hands-on investigations, and resources are included in the back matter.
This fascinating 96-page book can be used to introduce older grade school students to industrious ants, tunnel-building earthworms, snails and slugs, beetles, and many other creatures inhabiting the world beneath our feet. The book provides vivid descriptions of how soil organisms live, breed and interact; their methods of locomotion, feeding and defense; and the effect they have on the soil in which they live.
Each chapter of this book introduces a new geology concept and gives a couple of related jokes or riddles. Read some fascinating science facts about soil, gems, volcanoes, and mountains. Then learn some seriously silly jokes! There is even a section of the book that teaches you to write your own jokes about rocks, minerals, and soil!
This intimate novel, written in stanza form, poetically conveys the head dust and wind of Oklahoma along with the discontent of narrator Billie Jo who relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during Dust Bowl years of the Depression. ALA notable children's book, ALA best book for Young Adults, SLJ best book of the year.
Planters and Cultivators introduces children to the world of modern farming and the specialized equipment that is used on the farm for cultivating, planting and spraying crops. This book is filled with colorful action photographs, fun illustrations and a cast of cartoon equipment characters. As a companion to lessons about soil composition and soil nutrients, students will learn why and when these tools are used to manage and improve crop health and growth.
What is sand made of? What is erosion? What is clay used to make? The Investigate series encourages science inquiry with an interactive, investigative, and visual approach to a wide range of core curriculum topics. The format allows students to use scientific processes such as prediction, hypothesis, and inference in answering a series of questions on important topics throughout the book.
This 32-page book looks at earth's soil and how we have used soil throughout history. The book describes the many forms of life that are found in the soil, types of soil, and how we can protect soil from erosion.
Seed. Soil. Sun. With these simple ingredients, nature creates our food. Noted author Cris Peterson brings both wonder and clarity to the subject of agriculture, celebrating the cycle of growth, harvest, and renewal in this American Farm Bureau Foundation's Agriculture Book of the Year.
This book will help get kids excited about the living world of soil. Targeted for children aged 9-12, this 36-page, full-color book explores how soil is part of our life-the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the houses we live in, and more. Along the way, readers learn about different kinds of soil and meet the scientists who work with soil every day.
In this Dear America series book, Grace Edwards uses her journal to tell the story of a year (1935) in the Texas Panhandle town of Dalhart during the days of the Dust Bowl. Centered on a 12-year-old's perspective of home and school, chores and friends, Grace's diary reveals in graphic detail what life was like when farms failed, families went hungry, and children died from dust pneumonia because no rain fell.
Spectacular vertical panoramas illustrating life underground accompany 15 funny, fascinating poems that explore dirt and the many creatures that make their homes underground. Spiders, earthworms, ants, chipmunks and more crawl across the pages, between stretching roots and buried stones. This unique celebration of dirt—what makes it, what lives in it, and the many wonderful things the soil does to support life on our planet—is a whimsical, cleverly-illustrated pick for kids who love animals...or who just love playing in the mud.
When Ping admits that he is the only child in China unable to grow a flower from the seeds distributed by the Emperor, he is rewarded for his honesty. This simple story with its clear moral is illustrated with beautiful paintings. The story shows how Ping carefully plants his seed in a flowerpot with rich soil and waters it daily, but to his surprise it doesn't grow. The emperor later reveals that the seeds he'd provided had been cooked and could not grow. This book works well as an engagement approach to lessons on seeds for younger students.
*Recommended Common Core Reading First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads-driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity.
A speck of dust is a tiny thing. In fact, five of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence. On a clear, warm Sunday, April 14, 1935, a wild wind whipped up millions upon millions of these specks of dust to form a duster—a savage storm—on America's high southern plains. The sky turned black, sand-filled winds scoured the paint off houses and cars, trains derailed, and electricity coursed through the air. Sand and dirt fell like snow. People got lost in the gloom and suffocated...and that was just the beginning. Don Brown brings the dirty thirties to life with kinetic, highly saturated, and lively artwork in this graphic novel about one of America's most catastrophic natural events: the Dust Bowl.
C.J. Jackson is a young farmer whose family is forced to abandon their farm and seek a new life in California during the Dust Bowl. This book tells his story in journal form, beginning with an entry about being bit by a rattlesnake and following his family's trek across the country from Oklahoma to California. Use this story to give students a personal perspective on an important historical event that continues to affect the way agriculture is practiced today.
The students in Ms. Frizzle's class embark on another journey when the Magic School Bus tours a decomposing log that introduces the latter end of the life cycle and teaches readers that there's more to rot than meets the nose.
Tori and Jade are best friends until a friendly competition to grow the most prized pumpkin nearly tears their friendship apart! Come along as they create plans, work with an agronomist and beekeeper, learn from their mistakes and successes all in an effort to grow weird, warty, and ginormous pumpkins. The summer of the prized pumpkin competition will be one Tori and Jade will never forget!
When George Washington Carver was just a young child, he had a secret: a garden of his own. Here, he rolled dirt between his fingers to check if plants needed more rain or sun. He protected roots through harsh winters, so plants could be reborn in the spring. He trimmed flowers, spread soil, studied life cycles. And it was in this very place that George's love of nature sprouted into something so much more—his future.
Since its debut in the 1940s, Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" has become one of the best-loved folk songs in America. This classic ballad is now brought to life in a richly illustrated edition. Kathy Jakobsen's detailed paintings, which invite readers on a journey across the country, create an unforgettable portrait of our diverse land and the people who live it.
Under Your Feet delves beneath the Earth's surface and explores the diverse wonders hidden there. Encounter creatures of the deep and marvel at the mind-boggling size of the humongous fungus—the biggest organism in the world. Learn how one handful of ordinary soil contains more organisms than there are people on Earth, and carry out experiments using dirt from your own back garden.
Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt there is a busy world of earthworms digging, snakes hunting, skunks burrowing, and all the other animals that make a garden their home. Discover the wonders that lie hidden between stalks, under the shade of leaves...and down in the dirt.
From seeds dropping into soil to corn bursting from its stalks, from children chasing butterflies to ants burrowing underground, everything in this vibrant picture book pulses with life—in all directions! Sprightly illustrations set the mood for a rhythmic text that follows nature's course to a feast of backyard bounty.
What do worms do all day? How do they see? And why are they so cold and squishy? Find out by going on an underground tour through the hidden world of earthworms. Discover what's happening inside a worm's body—brain, crop, gizzard, and more. The book takes readers from "ew!" to "wow!" as they learn about the different ways worms work hard to help the earth.
Without dirt, or soil, life would have developed differently and we humans probably wouldn't be here at all. Soil supplies a surprising variety of raw materials for making things and provides the foundation for growing the plants that feed us. This book is full of information about the ways soil has been used by humans over the centuries. Each spread highlights a different topic, including types of soil, life in the soil, growing plants, soil erosion, and protecting soil resources for the future. Many sections also include suggestions for activities that can be used to further explore soil in the classroom.
This digital reader introduces soil formation and soil horizons with a fun edible soil activity. Other topics include the nitrogen cycle, plant nutrition, and fertilizer basics featuring the 4R Nutrient Stewardship. This resource is an excellent supplement to soil lessons and can be requested for free from the Nutrients for Life Foundation. There is a student reader as well as a teacher guide.
Use this free, downloadable reader from the Nutrient for Life Foundation to supplement a soil lesson. Students will learn about the 4 Rs of soil nutrient management: right source, right rate, right time, and right place.
This 18-page downloadable PDF reader contains activities and articles to enhance lessons on soil. The reader features an interview with an agriculture engineer and includes puzzles, quizzes, and visuals. The student reader and teacher guide are available free from the Nutrients for Life Foundation.
The Sweetpotato Ag Mag is an agricultural magazine written for elementary and middle school students. In this issue, students will learn that North Carolina is the #1 producer of sweetpotatoes in the United States and how the root vegetable was introduced to the nation. They will also explore the life cycle of the sweetpotato plant, its health benefits to humans, the STEM-focused processes for growing, harvesting, and curing sweetpotatoes, visit a fourth-generation sweetpotato farm, and investigate three careers that involve sweetpotato production. The reader can be viewed by students electronically on individual devices, as a class with a projector, or printed.
Written for first and second grade, this activity reader introduces soil, plant nutrients, and their role in producing food. The digital booklet contains an experiential learning activity, a letter from a farmer, practice with categorizing food, and discussions about where food comes from. This student reader is free and available by request from the Nutrients for Life Foundation.
The life cycle of a flowering plant begins with a seed. Alfalfa seeds are easy to sprout and grow in the classroom. Sprout these seeds in a jar, glove, or even an egg shell filled with soil. Order these seeds online from agclassroomstore.com.
This kit is designed to support various forms of homeschool, virtual learning, and online classes by providing ready-to-use supplies to facilitate hands-on learning and discovery. The kit contains materials for one student to complete a variety of activities found in the following lessons: Soil Texture and Water Percolation (Activity 1); Desktop Greenhouses (Activity 1); Seeds, Miraculous Seeds (Activities 1 & 3); Flower Power (Activity 2); Plant Tops and Bottoms (Activity 2). Order this kit online fromagclassroomstore.com.
Students will explore soil textures using sandpaper and hand lenses. Kit includes 30 squares of sandpaper (10 pieces of 60 grit, 10 pieces of 220 grit and 10 pieces of 400 grit) and 10 hand lenses that students will use to explore basic hand texturing. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
This kit includes five Utah soils that have been finely ground and sifted for use as paint pigments. Each soil is labeled with the name of the Utah county from which it was collected, the soil type and order, and the color of the soil classified by hue, value, and chroma. Use this kit with the Color in the Garden lesson plan, which provides instructions for painting with soil-based pigments. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
This is a great kit for teaching students about soil textures. The kit includes two cups of sand, two cups of silt, and two cups clay. All of the soil samples are from the state of Utah and are representative of the Intermountain Region, although the mineral content may be different, the particle sizes are true to soil texture type and can be used by other states for demonstration purposes. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
Investigate the importance of nutrients for plant growth and discover how plants grow without soil. Use this kit to grow and observe plants in a test tube hydroponic system. Kit includes rock wool, seed-starter trays, soybean seeds, plant tags, test tubes, and pipettes for 35 students. The Test Tube Hydroponics Kit complements the lesson Test Tube Hydroponics. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
Designed especially for elementary and middle school, this hands-on test kit and mini curriculum employs simplified soil science methodology. Students examine and compare the physical and chemical properties of soil samples that they collect themselves, and they learn about properties of good and poor soil as related to requirements of plants. Materials included allow students to conduct soil tests for texture, pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium using nonhazardous reagent tablets individually sealed in foil strips.
New version! Imagine the Earth as an apple. Use this large, 16.5"x17.5" apple model to demonstrate the distribution of the Earth's water and land resources. The model is two layers of durable styrene board with a handle on the back of the bottom layer. The top layer is cut into sections and held to the bottom layer by magnets. Remove the top layer of the apple to reveal the image underneath. Order this model online at agclassroomstore.com.
This interactive map allows you to explore USDA-NCSS soil survey data for locations throughout most of the U.S. It is compatible with smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. Zoom into an area of interest and discover the soil composition.
This half-hour video explores how the American tall-grass prairies have changed over the last 150 years. These grasslands created the rich soils that grow our crops today, and a number of farmers who work these soils are featured in the video.
On May 9th, 1934 a giant storm rose up out of the great plains. A menacing wall of soil and dust headed east across the land, thick enough to block out the sun. This 3-minute video gives a good account of this disaster through video footage, interviews, and photographs.
This excellent DVD explores a family rice farm in California's Sacramento Valley as viewed through the eyes of 11-year-old Sue Miller. A farmer's daughter, Sue is just beginning to understand the important role her family's farm plays in the surrounding ecology. Packed with plenty of educational information, this video also contains stirring visual images and a young person's perspective on something we all share; the basic human link to the soil and nature. Order this DVD online from agclassroomstore.com.
In three minutes, learn how a food processing company has discovered a more environmentally friendly method for processing pickles. This method disposes of the pickling salt which can seep into wetlands and contaminate the soil.
This 60-minute DVD contains a six-segment program that brings fundamental lessons of soil science from the countryside to the classroom in a way that is sure to keep students entertained and motivated. Although designed specifically for Utah fourth-grade students, segments on soil texturing, soil layers, and composting are valuable resources for teachers in any state. This video is available on DVD or YouTube.Order this DVD online from agclassroomstore.com.
This newsreel-style documentary chronicles the Dust Bowl with interviews from people (primary sources) who lived through the "dirty thirties." The images linger well after the film ends. An excellent resource to use when studying the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, or the Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck. The renowned Walter Cronkite narrates the 23-minute film available on DVD or YouTube. Order this DVD online from agclassroomstore.com.
This 14-minute documentary includes interviews from Utah residents (primary sources) about the "dirty" Grantsville Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Yes, Utah did experience its own dust bowl, not from the turn of the plow like the Midwest, but from overgrazing. Learn about how residents responded to what was one of the nation's worst environmental disasters. This video is available on DVD or YouTube. Order this DVD online from agclassroomstore.com.
On September 6, 1936, in one of his famous fireside chat radio broadcasts, President Franklin Roosevelt describes the conditions he observed firsthand on a tour of the many states devastated by drought.
This 17-minute basic how-to video is available for free download. Learn what makes compost happen, what items you should and shouldn't compost, how to build your own compost bin, the "recipe" for great compost, and how to use your compost.
This comprehensive 21-minute video highlights the endeavors of one man who changed farming practices through science and policy. Hugh Hammond Bennet was a pioneer in soil conservation teaching farmers about soil erosion and other farming practices needing reform at this time in history.
Our soils support 95 percent of all food production, and by 2060, our soils will be asked to give us as much food as we have consumed in the last 500 years. They filter our water, sequester carbon, are our foundation for biodiversity, and are vibrantly alive with 10,000 pounds of biological life in every acre. This 60-minute documentary features innovative farmers and soil health experts from throughout the U.S.
Phosphate is the "P" in N-P-K; one of three macronutrients that plants need to thrive. The Phosphate Mining video shows students the process of mining phosphate in the Southeastern region of the U.S. Take a close up look at where this element is found in the earth, how it is obtained, and how it is used as fertilizer to add nutrients to the soil to grow our food supply.
Potassium is the "K" in N-P-K; one of three macronutrients that plants need to thrive. The Potash Mining video shows students the process of mining potassium (potash). Take a close up look at where this element is found in the earth, how it it was formed anciently, and how it is mined and then used as fertilizer to add nutrients to the soil to grow our food supply.
To celebrate the International Year of Soils in 2015, the Soil Science Society of America created monthly videos teaching about various soil topics. These videos are a great supplement to soil science lessons.
Follow Rebecca Lybrand on a digital journey to connect soils, plants, and climate. Rebecca, a soil scientist explains some of her daily job tasks and teaches about soils in different climates and ecosystems.
Pollinators are vitally important to agriculture, as well as our food system and ecosystems. They help thousands of flowering plants reproduce, from flowers to fruits and even some crops. Pollinator habitat can also provide benefits on the farm, such as preventing soil erosion and improving biodiversity. This video collection discusses the importance of pollinators and provides examples of the successful implementation of pollinator habitats on farmland.
Conservancy freshwater scientist Jeff Opperman and his eight-year-old son Luca give a tour of their homemade science project that demonstrates the connection between healthy natural lands and a reliable supply of clean water for people.
Soil maps, GPS guidance, and even drones are becoming critical tools for modern farmers. These methods of precision agriculture can help increase yields and save farmers a surprising sum along the way.
This four-minute video tells the story of Kevin, who's been fascinated with garbage since he was really little. He wanted to put an end to landfills and make it easier for people to recycle. How? Worms decompose organic waste! Learn how can worms help us with our garbage in this engaging video.
Learn how to explore science and the environment using soda bottles and other recyclable materials. Model a rain forest and grow different plants, create a spider habitat, observe the life cycle of a slime mold, explore an ecosystem or make Korean kimchee. Pursue these and other scientific investigations with over 20 bottle constructions. Each chapter contains background information, activities and teaching tips. This is a great book for those interested in exploring gardening in the classroom before committing to something more expensive.
Give students the dirt on soil with a practical book that brings new meaning to the term "hands-on." Using these 12 activities and two original stories as guides, kids will soon be up to their elbows in the study of soil formation, habitats and land use, animals that depend on soil, plants that grow in soil, soil science, and soil conservation. Each teacher-tested lesson plan offers helpful background, assessment methods, and suggestions for further exploration.
This supplemental resource was developed to provide content and labs about fertilizer’s role in federal regulations, such as the Clean Water Act. Additionally the supplement provides an overview of sustainability and 4R nutrient stewardship providing a lot of information as well as places for students to keep notes. This free, downloadable PDF can be requested from the Nutrients for Life Foundation.
Many key food crops require nitrogen fertilizer, which can have negative effects on the environment if not managed correctly. Other crops, such as those from the legume family have special nitrogen fixing characteristics which return nitrogen to the soil. Read this article to discover how scientists are trying to transfer the nitrogen fixing trait to other plants.
Ever suck a bug to study insects or make mud pies to evaluate soil texture? The 2016 revised JMG Teacher & Leader Guide provides elementary teachers with the tools to teach the world of gardening with eight chapters of novel, hands-on and proven lessons. The curriculum also helps develops life skills, includes career exploration and provides opportunities for students to culminate the JMG experience with service-learning projects. As students complete areas of study, they can earn different recognition certifications including designation as Certified Junior Master Gardeners.
Precision agriculture technologies are playing an increasing role in farm production. Examples include GPS tractor guidance systems and GPS soil and yield mapping for variable-rate applications. This USDA report discusses adoption rates for using these technologies and factors impacting adoption of use.
Full of how-to projects for any level of gardener, this book includes step-by-step instructions with accompanying full-color photographs. Whether you’re planting flowers outdoors, or indoor vegetables, you’ll find a range of unique gardens you can grow yourself at home or in a classroom. Tips and techniques are included, as well as variations to make each project your own.
Use this resource when discussing the future use and demand of fresh water. Sixty percent of the world's fresh water is used by farmers which has a large impact upon its availability in meeting the challenge of producing food for a growing population. This article explains how scientists in the southwest are developing tools for saving water with the help of satellites, computer models, remote sensors, and other types of technologies.
The book that started a backyard worm revolution over three decades ago continues to be the definitive guide to vermicomposting—the process of using worms to recycle human food and other organic waste into a nutrient-rich fertilizer for plants. This book provides complete illustrated instructions on setting up and maintaining a small-scale worm composting system. The topics covered include worm species, anatomy of the red worm, the worm bin ecosystem, the care and feeding of worms, setting up a worm bin, harvesting worm castings, and the benefits of castings to plants.
The Crop Science Society of America promotes and encourages career opportunities in the agronomic, crop, soil and environmental sciences. The Career Placement webpage contains career profiles, salary survey reports, and career brochures for teachers and students who are interested in learning more about available jobs in these areas.
Learn How to Compost is a website teaching the basics of composting. You will find facts about composting, graphics outlining items you should and shouldn't compost, and common questions and answers. This website can be used as a resource to start a successful classroom compost pile to accompany lessons on soil, soil fertility, recycling, and more.
This interactive site explores the importance of nitrogen for plant, animal, and soil health. Students are able to build amino acid and fertilizer molecules and calculate molecular weight in relation to nitrogen content.
The Soil Center provides a collection of soil science lessons and an accompanying six-segment video program covering topics like soil texturing, living and nonliving components of soil, erosion, and more. These resources were designed specifically for Utah fourth-grade students but can easily be adapted for other grade levels.
The Soil Health Institute Communications and Education Action Team compiled this catalog of soil health educational resources to help educators teach students and adults about the critical functions that soil plays in sustaining life on earth.
Soil Life is a website designed to change the way the world looks at soil—digging into what's dirty and calling into question what's clean. This website includes an interactive, graphics-based introduction to soil science, a media hub of soils-related content, and actionable ways to protect and promote soils and life.
The Web Soil Survey provides soil data and information for your specific area to help cater your soil lesson to your own community. Visit the website link below for instructions, then click on "Start WSS" to find your soil data.