Instructor Materials: Overview of the Soils and Society Module
Summative Assessment: The summative assessment for this module is the Soils, Systems, and Society Kit. Guidelines and a rubric for the Kit are presented early in the module (in Unit 1) and the Kits are presented in Unit 4. Learn more about assessing student learning in this module.
Unit 1 begins with a brief class discussion of several scaffolded focus questions about making science relevant. This leads into a discussion about soils and their role in society. The class discussion can also help the instructor identify any misconceptions about science or soils that need to be addressed in later activities. Students are asked to consider what local and global soil issues exist. Students are introduced to concept mapping and create a starting Earth systems concept map which will be revised after each unit and included as part of their summative assessment—the Kit. Unit 1 may end with the Soil, Systems, and Society issues homework assignment.
In Unit 2, students work in small groups to examine and analyze map data to identify patterns (precipitation, soil, agriculture, topographic) and, through a jigsaw discussion, describe the interactions between Earth systems.
Unit 3 is set up as a series of stations to apply soil testing methods (pH, pore volume, etc.) to characterize the regional soils collected by the instructor. Each student gathers and records data from stations that may apply to their chosen soil issue. The groups come back together as a class to discuss soil resources and locally relevant soil issues and their results from the period's work.
In Unit 4, through their own open-ended inquiry, students design and create a standards-based Soils, Systems, and Society Kit (the "Kit") containing lessons and supporting materials to teach K–8 students about an important soil and locally relevant societal issue or problem of their choosing. This unit is designed to be a curriculum element in a K–8 science methods course that is relevant and has a real-life context. The student's Kit should be an authentic curriculum and—for the pre-service teachers—a metacognitive experience in developing an integrated curriculum. This process will strengthen their abilities to design instruction, linking the real world to their classroom.
Making the Module Work
To adapt all or part of the Soils, Systems, and Society Module for your classroom, you will also want to read through
- Instructor Stories, which detail how the Soils, Systems, and Society Module was adapted for use at three different institutions, as well as our guide to
- Adapting InTeGrate Modules and Courses for Your Classroom, which outlines how to effectively use InTeGrate modules and courses.