Mike Liston of Tolles Career and Technical Center left last summer’s Feed the World workshop armed with useful knowledge and lots of great activities to use with his science students!
Liston used the Soil and Sustainability activities with his Environmental Management and Environmental Science students. After discussing soil texture and particle size, students determined soil type using the soil triangle. Liston said, “I had students practice with the soil triangle because I had seen an example of a data interpretation problem on one of the graduation tests using a soil triangle. When the problem was shown during a staff meeting, I was the only person that knew what it was! The soil texture triangle provided good practice working with a graph that had more than just an X and Y-axis.”
Students also had the opportunity to determine soil texture by feel using the flow chart. The Environmental Management students used the test kits to determine soil fertility and pH in conjunction with plant nutritional needs.
Using the Water Quality lessons, Liston’s Environmental Management and Environmental Science students caught invertebrates, identified organisms, and scored water quality, and all his classes conducted a chemical water test. Liston will be doing the same lab with middle school students for a Tolles-sponsored summer camp early June.
The Environmental Management students did monthly water chemical samples. In March, the lab students changed monitoring locations to focus on areas upstream and down stream of field tile that empties into the creek. They are watching to see if there is additional nitrogen or phosphorus as a result of farming.
He said, “I highly recommend this workshop to other teachers. I received plenty of good, usable lessons and activities, learned how to do the lessons, learned from other teachers and left with almost all the materials needed to conduct the lessons. What I learned at the ethanol plant helps me talk about renewable fuels and how ethanol reduces our dependency on oil imports while making our gasoline blends burn cleaner.”
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