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Free K-12 resources developed for teaching soil science

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For educators, it can be a challenge to find the right resources covering important topics in agriculture such the basics of soil. However, things have gotten a little bit easier with a new, free resource. Through a contribution agreement with the USDA-NRCS, the Soil Science Society of America has developed materials to enhance the teaching of soils in both formal and informal classrooms.

New, free resources include:

  • Know Soil Know Life Educator’s Guide — helps teachers integrate information in the book into classroom curriculum. The book provides a deeper dive into soil science topics including physical properties of soil, soil formation, soil biology, chemical properties of soil, soil classification/survey/interpretations, environmental science/conservation/land use management, soils and biomes, soils and society, and careers in soil science. 
  • Soil Basics Poster — two-sided poster provides visual overview of soils. This unique poster is two-sided with side A being designed for the middle-school grades while side B is for the more advanced levels.
  • Educational Materials Database –– collection of soils-focused activities, labs, and demonstrations organized by activity type, Next Generation Science Standards, and grade level
  • Ask A Soil Scientist — If you have any question on soils, soil science, and careers in soil science, this is the place to get answers. In addition, teachers can use this tool to request a Soil Scientist to visit the classroom. 

These materials were developed to enhance the previously existing resources, including two books, Soil! Get the Inside Scoop and Know Soil, Know Life, two websites, webinars, a curriculum unit, and much more.

“We have been thrilled to lead this project. We’re so fortunate to have such great partners in the NRCS and in K-12 teachers everywhere,” says April Ulery, president of the Soil Science Society of America. “Anything we can do to help teachers keep youngsters engaged and learning is a good thing.”

Explore more resources on Soils4Teachers and Soils4Kids, and subscribe to the Soils Matter Blog.

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