InTeGrate's Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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The student materials are available for offline viewing below. Downloadable versions of the instructor materials are available from this location on the instructor materials pages. Learn more about using the different versions of InTeGrate materials »

### For the Instructor

These student materials complement the A Growing Concern Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.

# Pre-work for Unit 5

## Introduction

Even though we can't see it on a daily basis, soil erosion occurs at an alarming rate in many agricultural areas. Fertile topsoil can be lost to erosion and/or depleted of vital nutrients within a few decades without the introduction of sustainable agricultural practices. Agricultural and soil scientists have developed mathematical methods to estimate the rate of soil erosion using a number of different factors that are thought to contribute, either positively or negatively, to soil erosion rates. This work is reflected in the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). We are not going to use the equation to do calculations, but we are going to consider some of the factors in the RUSLE and how they influence soil erosion. The factors that we are going to consider are as follows:

1. Rainfall and runoff erosivity (R factor)
2. Soil properties (K factor)
3. Landscape characteristics (LS factor)
4. Agricultural practices (C & P factors)

## Assignment

In this assignment, you are going to look more closely at one of the factors (assigned by your instructor) in the RUSLE. You will need to read the online material and answer a few questions about your assigned factor. You will be considered an "expert" on your assigned factor and you will be sharing your expertise with the class, so it is important that you come prepared to discuss your answers to the questions that follow.