Hands-on encounter with soil

Jerry Swartz, an Agricultural Education Instructor and FFA Advisor, did the soil ribbon test and the pH test with his Eastwood High School sophomore Animal and Plant Science students. Swartz attended the two-day Ohio Corn & Wheat-sponsored Feed the World workshop last summer and learned about these and other curriculum.

Swartz said, “They enjoyed the ribbon test. It gave them a chance to get dirty and learn the difference between the different textures and understand that not all soils are alike.” His students also brought in some soil samples to test for pH.

“The a-ha moments came when we started talking about drainage and how certain soils are better suited for certain things. For example, clay is not good around your basement due to its capacity to shrink and swell.” One student, whose soil was very high in phosphorus, was a little concerned about her soil when she realized excess phosphorus can lead to algal blooms.

These activities fit with Swartz’s objectives by allowing students to understand the different types of soils and particle sizes. It also helped students grasp the concept that soils need to be treated differently because of their nutrient levels.

Swartz said the workshop helped him as a teacher by providing supplies, projects and experiments for his classroom. “These things help students have a hands-on understanding of things, like soil, that are part of their everyday lives.”

In addition to the two-day summer workshop, Ohio Corn & Wheat sponsors several one-day workshops during the school year. Watch our events page for upcoming opportunities!