This interactive unit about the connections between soil health, our health, and the planet starts with a call to action statement, two brief introductory videos, an animated story, and a description of the five stages of the quest.
The soil quest will lead students through asking questions, uncovering answers, exploring connections, helping to solve the problem, and teaching others about the solutions.
The anchor question of this quest is, "How does restoring the health of soil in my community help living things, the atmosphere, climate, and me?"
This project assists students in practicing inquiry-based learning by helping them ask questions like, "What makes soil so special, and why is it important?"
Students are empowered to make a difference in their community and inspire others by investigating local soil problems, and designing and carrying out their own soil project.
This Quest is designed to be a 2.5-week to 4-month long class project but each section can be used independently to complement your lessons.
Educators can register to access an educator dashboard, related teaching resources, and other options.
This soil quest is designed to be flexible, teachers can adjust the activities as needed and can spend as little or as long on each step as they choose.
While the quest is designed for middle school students, it can be scaled up or down in complexity.
This introduction includes an animated story that could be used as inspiration for an art project or graphic novel to present their journey through the quest or depict their solution.
For more information about the relationship between soil and the climate, check out this PBS video about the importance of soil and this lesson plan about soils.
This resource presents different techniques for soil health management. These techniques not only improve soil health and the natural ecosystem but also sequester CO2 in soils and prevent them from escaping to space. This is recommended to spur students to engage in soil health quest.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
MS-LS1-5 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.