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Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

 

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides technical assistance to farmers and other private landowners and managers across North America. Its mission is to improve, protect, and conserve natural resources on private lands through a cooperative partnership with state and local agencies. NRCS provides a variety of conservation education programs and opportunities for school and college students, teachers and the general public on topics such as soils, water, air, plants and animals. One of the many successful programs is S.K.Worm – the official annelid, or worm, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s NRCS which answers questions about soil.

As a teacher/educator you will: 

Improve your understanding about soil as an ecosystem and teach students about soil importance, human impact on soil health and ways to reduce damages caused by natural disasters.

Access the following resources:

Download the updated edition of the Soil Story Curriculum in English and Spanish. This free middle-school curriculum, developed in partnership with Life Lab, is designed to introduce young people to the magic of soil and the fascinating connection it has to the food we eat, our health and our climate.

The five-lesson curriculum, written to serve as supplemental material for the Next Generation Science Standards, teaches students about the carbon cycle, photosynthesis, soil science and various agricultural practices, concluding with a regenerative soil-based project.

For additional resources please visit the Kiss the Ground Resource Library.

Get these lessons now:

  • Soil Glue – demonstrate how surface soil particles are held together by various organic substances.
  • Soil Water – demonstrate how water either enters the soil or runs off over the soil surface
  • Soil Crayons – provides an opportunity for observation of a variety of colorful soils.
  • A Soil Profile – learn about different layers of soil.
  • More activities/lessons and the entire curriculum

Kiss the Ground

When Kiss the Ground was founded, the organization had one goal: share with the world that building healthy soil can be a solution to the climate crisis. Now, its work spans four programs, all working toward its mission: Inspiring participation in the regeneration of the planet, starting with soil.

Kiss the Ground teamed up with Life Lab to develop a middle school curriculum that allows students to understand the vital role soil plays on our planet. The five-lesson curriculum, written to serve as supplemental material for the Next Generation Science Standards, teaches about the carbon cycle, photosynthesis, soil science, various agricultural practices and concludes with a regenerative soil-based project.

To learn more about Kiss the Ground’s story, visit https://kisstheground.com/

As a teacher/educator you will: 

  • Increase soil health literacy
  • Provide a deeper understanding of the fascinating connection soil has to the food we eat, our health and our climate
  • Complete a regenerative soil-based project

Access the following resources:

Download the updated edition of the Soil Story Curriculum in English and Spanish. This free middle-school curriculum, developed in partnership with Life Lab, is designed to introduce young people to the magic of soil and the fascinating connection it has to the food we eat, our health and our climate.

The five-lesson curriculum, written to serve as supplemental material for the Next Generation Science Standards, teaches about the carbon cycle, photosynthesis, soil science and various agricultural practices, as well as a regenerative soil-based project. 

For additional resources please visit Kiss the Ground Resource Library.

Soil Health Institute – Living Soil

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. The Institute works with its many stakeholders to identify gaps in research and adoption; develop strategies, networks and funding to address those gaps; and ensure beneficial impacts of those investments to agriculture, the environment and society.

SHI provides a variety of educational tools for anyone interested in soil health, such as its Living Soil documentary, as well as its lesson plans designed for high school and college faculty use.

Living Soil is a 60-minute documentary that tells the story of farmers, scientists and policymakers working to incorporate beneficial soil health practices into farm management. Each farmer shares a story as unique as the soil they manage, with a shared theme that resonates throughout the film – Our soil is a special resource we should all cherish and strive to protect.

The documentary can be watched and downloaded here.

The film also includes lesson plans for high school and college faculty use. These lesson plans are designed to accompany the Living Soil film and are appropriate for classes in agriculture, natural resources, environment, ecology, biology, human nutrition or food systems.

The documentary’s primary learning goal is to help students develop an understanding of why soil health is important and identify ways that professionals in production agriculture work to improve the health of our nation’s soils, benefiting all members of society.

For more information, please visit https://livingsoilfilm.com/.

Soil Science Society of America

Looking for useful resources to assist in the soil education of your class? Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) has numerous materials to help you talk to students about soils.

SSSA is a professional scientific society, made up of soil scientists, educators, and consultants focused on promoting soil science, including enhancing soils topics in schools. Based in Madison, Wis., and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members. SSSA has many great resources for K-12 students and teachers. Soil science composes biology, chemistry, physics and earth science, and makes an excellent choice as teaching material for K-12 teachers.

Some SSSA K-12 resources are listed below, but please visit http://www.soils4teachers.org/home for more information and other resources!

Lessons & activities: A bank of many lessons and hands-on activities all about soils and topics related to soils. These materials include lessons and activities that are posted directly by SSSA, as well as external links to materials that they have reviewed and recommended.

Ask a Soil Scientist Program: The Ask a Soil Scientist program has been designed for K-12 teachers, students and anyone else with general interest in soils-based questions.

State Soil Booklets: Booklets were developed and written by soil scientists to provide in-depth information on each state’s soil. The booklets include a brief history of how the state soil came to be, where the state soil is found, importance and uses, limitations, management, soil formation, ecoregions and land use, a glossary and additional resources.

In addition, SSSA hosts www.soils4kids.org where children can research soils topics, play games and explore careers.

Learn more about SSSA at: www.soils.org.

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