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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: This Land Is Your Land

Authors
item Kennedy, Ann
item Stubbs, Tami - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.
item Hansen, Jeremy

Submitted to: Science and Children
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 15, 2006
Publication Date: December 15, 2006
Repository URL: http://www.ars.usda.gov/sp2UserFiles/Place/53482500/ACK/06TLIYL.pdf
Citation: Kennedy, A.C., Stubbs, T.L., Hansen, J.C. This land is your land. Science and Children. 67: 22-26. 2006.

Interpretive Summary: Soil is a valuable natural resource that we often take for granted. We rely on its productivity for our food and fiber, and its firmness to support our buildings and roads. Soil moves (erodes) due to wind, water and gravity when nothing helps it to stay in place. We can conserve our soil, reduce rates of erosion and slow soil degradation by planting grass, trees or other plants or protecting the soil from movement. Conservation education is an important part of science classes. The goal of this exercise is to increase awareness about soil erosion and the conservation measures that may protect our soil. This exercise is attractive to both boys and girls in third through fifth grades because of the building and designing of a landscape; protecting houses; and the action of water. The students enjoy designing their own landscape and watching the effect of water on the soil. Scientific method is part of this experience because the students are asked to record their landscape to predict what may happen and then conclude which are the best conservation methods. This manuscript describes activities that can be used in elementary school science classes. These exercises illustrate the importance of soil as a natural resource and the impact of plants in reducing erosion. This manuscript describes three different exercises for elementary school science teachers to use that are fun while teaching students about scientific principles and conservation.

Technical Abstract: Soil is a valuable natural resource that we take for granted. We walk on it every day and rely on its productivity for our food and fiber, and its firmness to support our buildings and roads. There is so much soil around that we often don't think about it as something we can lose! Soil moves (erodes) due to wind, water and gravity when nothing helps it to stay in place. In these experiments children learn about erosion through sand box play. The goal of this exercise is to increase awareness about soil erosion and the conservation measures that may protect our soil. This exercise is attractive to both boys and girls in third through fifth grades because of the building and designing of a landscape; protecting houses; and the action of water. The students enjoy designing their own landscape and watching the effect of water on the soil. Along with being fun, it is very soothing and satisfying for the students to mold and move the sand in the shoebox. It is a rewarding hands-on experiment for students. Scientific method can be a part of this experience if the students are asked to record their landscape to predict what may happen and then conclude which are the best conservation methods. Data reporting and problem solving activities can be varied depending on the age of the students. This exercise illustrates the importance and limitations of soil as a natural resource and the impact of plants in reducing erosion.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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