Analyzing soil profile in the pit

Christina Howard, a Black River High School Agricultural Education Teacher, used Feed the World workshop lessons in a soils unit with her Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource (AFNR) and Animal and Plant Science classes. Students worked in a soil pit to analyze a soil profile four feet deep and three feet wide. While in the “pit,” students textured soil within each horizon, measured for erosion and depth, and identified any water problems or impermeable material. Using this information, students made recommendations for soil use such as agriculture production, pasture land, building and basements, and/or woodlands.

The soil pit was dug in the FFA field lab. Howard’s Agribusiness class worked closely with Crop Production Services to perform a crop yield analysis. An agronomist came out for a field day where each classroom spent time with him determining the crop yield based on the current year’s weather, predator, and management practices. Howard said, “This year due to the very dry weather conditions, a large part of the field was overcome by Canadian Geese, so our yields were down.” The Agribusiness class shared their findings with the AFNR and Animal and Plant Science classes. By taking soil samples in different areas and comparing yields, they could also make predictions on which soil was more fertile and which may need more fertilizer the following season.

Howard’s students also made a “soil profile” based on the different colors and texture of the pudding, cookies, brownies, green coconut and chocolate and peanut butter chips that were provided. The profiles were made in clear, glass containers so the students could see the different layers and then enjoy a special treat.

Howard said, “I also had students participate in the FFA Soil Judging Career Development Event. Based on the knowledge they gained in the classroom and during practices, students were better equipped to participate in the competition.”

These lessons, activities, and more are available on our website.

Check Feed the World’s website for upcoming workshops.