Teach the Earth > Course Design > Course Goals/Syllabus Database > Soil Resources 153

Soil Resources 153

martha mamo

University of NE
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs


Introductory soil science course. Covers soil development and properties, land use, and management.

Course URL:
Subject: Geoscience
Resource Type: Course Information:Goals/Syllabi
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)
Course Type: Entry Level:Earth Science
Course Size:


Course Context:

Lower level survey courses. Total contact hours per week for each students is 5 hrs with 1 hr lecture and two 2-hr labs facilitated in small groups. Student major is as high as 15-20 with an even distribution in class standing.

Course Goals:

  • Students should use data to predict how soil properties affect plant growth, water availability and storage, nutrients supply and retention
  • Students should critique soil management plans to meet the needs of specific users (homeowners, agri practitioners, home builders) and explain why the plans may or may not be effective.
  • Students should design management plans to maintain soil functions for specific uses and defend those plans with evidence.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Course is large course taught in small groups, many of the activities have application questions. The three intellectual goals stated above goals will be achieved using several higher order thinking activities. Specifically:

Concepts maps (relationships, factors, impacts)

Gallery walk (data generation, observations, prediction, recommendations and reflection)

Concept sketches (field soil profile description, Influence of certain management on N cycle)

Interpretation of simulated data on N cycle and develop concept sketches on how that influences N cycle

Projects (requiring analysis, integration, synthesis, creating, reflecting)

Skills Goals

  • Students should develop metacognitive skills by reflecting on their thinking in activities threaded throughout the course and be able to transfer skills in other courses and setting. (ancillary goal)

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Reflection on selected activities
Knowledge surveys
Concept maps and sketches

Attitudinal Goals

  • Students should gain an appreciation for soil as a functioning resource (attitudinal goal)

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Pre and post attitudinal survey developed with the assistance of ed psychology


  • Weekly quiz (will be revised to reflect higher order thinking)
  • Projects (some will be revised to specifically reflect the goals, authentic rubrics will be developed and explained to students)
  • Exams (knowledge survey will be administered prior to each exam)
  • Final exam
  • Unit worksheets (reflective writing on what was learned, what approaches were used to understand concepts; what strategies worked or did not work for the unit; what strategies will they use for the next unit)
  • Thinking/reflection activities (reading reflections, exam wrappers or group post exam analysis; knowledge survey at the beginning of the semester and at each unit interval)
  • Pre and post attitudinal surveys
  • Pre and post surveys focused on metacognition

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