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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Economics

Resource Types

  • Article
  • Data

Regional Focus




Conservation Agriculture

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  • This article examines the environmental impacts of tilling, what conservation agriculture entails, and how much CO2 equivalent emissions can be reduced if conservation agriculture continues to expand.
  • Students will learn that tilling can decrease the amount of nutrients in a field, conservation agriculture involves techniques such as crop rotation and cover cropping, and the continued growth of conservation agriculture would sequester many gigatons of CO2 equivalent emissions.
Teaching Tips


  • This article also talks about climate resilience in agriculture, showing students that this solution contributes to more than just carbon sequestration.
  • An additional article on regenerative annual cropping is referenced within this article, giving students and teachers a clear path for extended research.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students may need the terms tilling, sequester, crop rotation, cover cropping, degraded, organic, mitigation, and others defined before reading the article.
  • Students should know the different types of climates.
  • Students should understand climate change and the role of agriculture in contributing to climate change.
  • The second link in the References section does not work, but it's not necessary for analyzing the article.


  • Teachers can use this article as a conceptual introduction to regenerative annual cropping and other forms of sustainable agriculture.
  • Students can read this article at home to prepare for an in-class discussion on the sustainability of America's agricultural practices.
  • This article could supplement a classroom discussion on the connection between agricultural cost efficiency and sustainability.
  • In civics classes, students can participate in a brainstorming session where students consider different ways to draft policies that incentivize producers to farm sustainably.
  • Students can research other climate solutions from the Table of Solutions.
Scientist Notes
This article introduces the idea of conservation agriculture and how we can improve traditional agricultural practices to reduce the carbon footprint and make land more resilient. It then details a study looking into the carbon impacts of these practices. The article is organized similarly to a scientific paper in breaking down this climate solution into an introduction, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion sections. The limitations of the study are also included. These details make this resource a good example of how scientific articles are often structured. Resources are included. The information presented is accurate, and this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-2 Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
      • HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.1.9-12 Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
      • D2.Eco.8.9-12 Describe the possible consequences, both intended and unintended, of government policies to improve market outcomes.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.
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