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How Dirt Works

165 minutes
Three 45-minute periods
Primary subjects: 
5, 6, 7, 8
Average: 4 (1 vote)

In this lesson, students learn about the value of soil as a natural resource (regulates water, sustains plant and animal life, filters pollutants, cycles nutrients and supports structures). Then explore the importance of having/maintaining healthy soil. They will explore different individuals’ descriptions of healthy soil. For example, to an agriculturalist, healthy soil means highly productive land that sustains or enhances productivity therefore enhancing profits; to a consumer it means plentiful, healthy and inexpensive food for present and future generations; to an environmentalist it means functioning at its potential in an ecosystem with respect to biodiversity, water quality, nutrient cycling, and biomass production.

Key objectives for students
Describe soil and its importance to an ecosystem.
Diagram soil layers or horizons.
Conduct mini-investigations to determine how soil functions to regulate water, filter, sustain life, cycle nutrients, and provide support.
Examine the role of soil for different organisms.
Explain the relationship between humans and soil.
Examine and describe the need to monitor soil health.
Create a worm composting bin to observe the process of decomposition.
soil, Matter, nutrients
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