What a worm sees

Students at Mapleton High School can view the soil from an earthworm’s perspective. AFNR (Agricultural, Food and Natural Resource) students in Adam Bode’s class learned that the soil is an ever-changing environment. Bode attended the 2015 Feed the World workshop in Cleveland, where there was an emphasis on Soil Science. Participants learned about soil nutrients and how different crops’s needs vary. These soil nutrients also affect water quality which is a key issue in the Great Lakes & Mississippi Basin.

Students were able to walk into a trench in the soil horizon to see the parent base material, the interaction of water movement, plant growth, and incorporation of organic matter. All of these factors are then considered to develop a plan for a farmer to utilize to grow future crops in this field. “Students are more engaged when they see that the course work they are learning has immediate application in the real world,” explained Bode. “There is this ‘felt need to learn’ when they know they can take this knowledge home and apply it to their farm.”

Bode encourages all teachers to enroll in a Feed the World workshop. He said, “It allows networking between rural and urban educators to understand the perspective of different segments of American society. Agriculture teachers can no longer simply teach rural students how to farm. They must educate rural students how to farm sustainably and explain to their urban customers why the farming practices they are utilizing are best for both of them.”

Check out these lessons on soil and sustainability that you can use in your classroom!