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How Dirt Works

Theme: 
Food, Natural Systems
Grade: 
5, 6, 7, 8
Essential questions
Why is soil a valuable resource?
How do humans rely on soil?
Why is it important to monitor and maintain the health of soil?
What are some of the strategies used to improve and maintain the health of soil?

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.

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