Getting a Feel for Soils - Lab
This is a lab activity in which students start to put together what they have learned as separate soil attributes in the context of the world they know. This activity involves hypothesizing geologic and soils relationships using state and world maps, conducting texture-by-feel tests, reflecting on the definition of 'soil', and evaluating soil granulometric methods.
I use this activity in my upper-level undergraduate elective, Soils. It is specific to Indiana, but could be easily adapted to other locales by substituting your own soil/geologic/terrain maps. It also lists specific samples relative to our other laboratory activities, but the instructor should substitute these for samples that serve their own course/assignment goals.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
content knowledge of soil orders
skills knowledge of geologic and terrain map-reading
How the activity is situated in the course
This activity stands alone, but I use samples from a previous lab. The skills that are applied here are also applied in written exams and all subsequent labs.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
I conduct this as a group lab activity during which students work together and discuss what they know to apply it to familiar spatial and ecological relationships. The assignment goal is for them to explore their current content knowledge in the service of the larger course goals (and future field and laboratory work).
Getting a Feel for Soils - Lab - PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 1.9MB May20 13)
Getting a Feel for Soils - Lab - doc (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 2.4MB May20 13)
To implement this lab, all you need are some soil samples (or samples of soil-like materials) and maps of your home-state/country/region (if you do not want to use Indiana).
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources