Digging Up Earth Day Resources

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<ul><li><p>Chemical Education Today</p><p>www.JCE.DivCHED.org Vol. 83 No. 2 February 2006 Journal of Chemical Education 201</p><p>Reports from Other Journals</p><p>News from Online: Digging Up Earth Day Resourcesby Bernadette A. Caldwell</p><p>Soil is both familiarencountered through childs playand gardening and cleaningand mysteriousoften invisibleunder crops or grass or pavement, yet capable of nurturing plantand animal life. Intrigued by this years focus on soil for Chem-ists Celebrate Earth Day, I went online to see what I couldunearth about soil related to chemistry. While the ensuing jour-ney is not comprehensive, many Web sites cataloged here couldbe profitably used to incorporate soil science and soil chemis-try into your teaching materials for Earth Day and beyond.</p><p>General Information</p><p>To gain some background understanding, I visited thesoils education home page of the U.S. Department of Agri-culture (USDA) at http://soils.usda.gov/education/, which fea-tures links to many additional internal and external sites.Geared primarily to K12 students (with the bulk of activi-ties appropriate for K8 students), the information hereranges broadly from straightforward geology, biology, and soilclassification to more whimsical soil songs and soil poetry.In a similar vein, the soil science education home page atNASA (http://soil.gsfc.nasa.gov/links.htm) provides many use-ful links for teaching soil science to elementary and middleschool students. For a more sophisticated overview, visit theInternational Soil and Reference Information Centre, http://www.isric.nl/ and follow links to About Soils where youll findbasic concepts, a glossary, a view of ISRICs World Soil Mu-seum (with a virtual tour under construction), and a tutorialand picture gallery on acid sulfate soils. At the soil page ofthe Environmental Literacy Council Web site at http://www.enviroliteracy.org/subcategory.php/36.html a higher-leveloverview precedes more external links: follow the internallinks on the right side for Soil: Labs and Activities, whichincludes suggestions for high school curricula. At a greaterlevel of abstraction, information and links from the Worldof Soil site at http://soil.hostweb.org.uk/ are suitable for highschool and college students.</p><p>With a better informed idea of what soil is and how im-portant soils are to life on Earth, I wanted to see examples ofsoils and find out whether the differences among soil typeswere as dramatic as indicated by some of the background Websites. Links from the USDAs Natural Resource ConservationService (NRCS) at http://soils.usda.gov/gallery/ display soil pro-files and soil landscapes, as well as interesting soil images withdescriptions and their spatial distribution at http://soils.usda.gov/technical/classification/orders/; find your state soiland learn more about where you are grounded. Visit thephoto gallery of A Compendium of Online Soil Survey In-formation (http://www.itc.nl/~rossiter/research/rsrch_ss_img.html) for links to other soil image sources around the world.The photo gallery at the NRCS, http://photogallery.nrcs.</p><p>usda.gov, provides access to many images, searchable by U.S.state or category (mostly agricultural), or both. We foundthis issues cover image at this site; youll find graphic repre-sentations of macro-level soil science concepts here that willbuild on students familiarity with local landscapes. Anothersoil gallery focuses on arid soils of the Colorado Plateau, spe-cifically the biological soil-crust communities that live at thesoilatmosphere interface, building soils, protecting themfrom erosion, and conserving soil moisture and nutrients inthat environment. See for yourself at http://www.soilcrust.org/gallery.htm.</p><p>While the images from the sites just mentioned revealsome of the chemical properties of the soils through color andtexture, a Web site from the Thin Section and Micromorphol-ogy Laboratory at the University of Stirling, in Scotland, offersa closer look at soil chemistry with microscale soil images. Thesites gallery (http://www.thin.stir.ac.uk/gallery/index.php) in-cludes stunning images of soil thin sections demonstrating thecomplex interplay of minerals, organic material, bacteria, fungi,plant life, and other soil components. Repeat visits to this sitewill certainly reward the careful observer and engage studentinterest. For an extreme close-up view, see the Virtual Museumof Minerals and Molecules displays: try out the Soil OrganicMatter site (http://www.soils.wisc.edu/virtual_museum/som/index.html; Java required), and visualize soil molecules!</p><p>Hands-On Activities: K8</p><p>At this point I was eager to get my hands dirty, interact-ing and experimenting with soil. Fortunately, numerous sitesprovide ideas for activities and laboratory experiments relatedto soil science, many appropriate to elementary, middle, andhigh school students, and some suitable for college students,too. Familiar to many K8 teachers, the Bottle Biology cur-</p><p>Figure 1. The Munsell color chart shown here is used in the fieldto accurately characterize soil colors, providing information aboutsoil composition and type.</p><p>Photo: Lynn Betts, USD</p><p>A N</p><p>RCS</p><p>http://www.jce.divched.org/http://www.jce.divched.org/Journal/Issues/2006/http://www.jce.divched.org/Journal/http://soils.usda.gov/education/http://soil.gsfc.nasa.gov/links.htmhttp://www.isric.nl/http://www.isric.nl/http://www.enviroliteracy.org/subcategory.php/36.htmlhttp://www.enviroliteracy.org/subcategory.php/36.htmlhttp://soil.hostweb.org.uk/http://soils.usda.gov/gallery/http://soils.usda.gov/technical/classification/orders/http://soils.usda.gov/technical/classification/orders/http://www.itc.nl/~rossiter/research/rsrch_ss_img.htmlhttp://www.itc.nl/~rossiter/research/rsrch_ss_img.htmlhttp://photogallery.nrcs.usda.govhttp://photogallery.nrcs.usda.govhttp://photogallery.nrcs.usda.govhttp://www.soilcrust.org/gallery.htmhttp://www.soilcrust.org/gallery.htmhttp://www.thin.stir.ac.uk/gallery/index.phphttp://www.soils.wisc.edu/virtual_museum/som/index.htmlhttp://www.soils.wisc.edu/virtual_museum/som/index.html</p></li><li><p>Chemical Education Today</p><p>202 Journal of Chemical Education Vol. 83 No. 2 February 2006 www.JCE.DivCHED.org</p><p>Reports from Other Journals</p><p>riculum includes activities that demonstrate soil formationand the filtering potential of many soil types: the Decompo-sition Column described at http://www.bottlebiology.org/inves-tigations/decomp_main.html can be adapted for a range of agesand interests by varying the types and amounts of materialsadded in the bottle. In addition to the activities proposed atthe USDA and NASA sites mentioned above, other organi-zations include soil-related activities for K8 students. TheField Museum in Chicago has an Underground Adventureexhibit with virtual tour possibilities (http://www.fieldmuseum.org/undergroundadventure/virtual_tour/index.shtml#) and class-room extensions. Under the section Just for Teachers the mudshake activity (http://www.fieldmuseum.org/undergroundadventure/teachers/mud_shake.shtml) seems feasible and fun.Educators at the Smithsonian Institution are creating a soilexhibit; while it is under construction the staff has been col-lecting teaching resources on soils (http://www.soils.org/</p><p>smithsonian/education.html), including further links to onlinematerials, such as The Great Plant Escape at http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/gpe/ with cases for students to solve onlinein English or Spanish. The Thinkquest site at http://library.thinkquest.org/J003195F/activiti.htm provides detailed instruc-</p><p>Background Informationhttp://soils.usda.gov/education/http://soil.gsfc.nasa.gov/links.htmhttp://www.isric.nl/http://www.enviroliteracy.org/subcategory.php/36.htmlhttp://soil.hostweb.org.uk/</p><p>Soil Gallerieshttp://soils.usda.gov/gallery/http://soils.usda.gov/technical/classification/orders/http://www.itc.nl/~rossiter/research/rsrch_ss_img.htmlhttp://photogallery.nrcs.usda.govhttp://www.soilcrust.org/gallery.htmhttp://www.thin.stir.ac.uk/gallery/index.phphttp://www.soils.wisc.edu/virtual_museum/som/index.html</p><p>Resources and Activities for Students in Grades K8http://www.bottlebiology.org/investigations/</p><p>decomp_main.htmlhttp://www.fieldmuseum.org/undergroundadventure/</p><p>virtual_tour/index.shtml#http://www.fieldmuseum.org/undergroundadventure/</p><p>teachers/mud_shake.shtml#http://www.soils.org/smithsonian/education.htmlhttp://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/gpe/http://library.thinkquest.org/J003195F/activiti.htmhttp://www.wtamu.edu/%7Ecrobinson/DrDirt/filter.htmlhttp://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/</p><p>wondernetdisplay.html?DOC=wondernet%5Cactivities-%5Csoil%5Csoilsizes.html</p><p>Resources and Activities for High SchoolStudents</p><p>http://soil.gsfc.nasa.gov/elec/soilelec.htmhttp://soil.gsfc.nasa.gov/filter/filter.htmhttp://www.wtamu.edu/~crobinson/SoilWater/capillar.htmlhttp://www.beloit.edu/~SEPM/Earth_Works/</p><p>How_fast_do_sed.htmlhttp://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEC/AEF/1996/</p><p>graham_ecosystem.htmlhttp://chemistry.org/portal/resources/</p><p>?id=45dc03da647211d7e52c6ed9fe800100 [p 4]http://www.chemistry.org/portal/resources/ACS/</p><p>ACSContent/education/curriculum/chemmatters/tg0403_phytoremediation.pdf</p><p>http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/feature_tea.html?id=6445e97ac1da11d6f70d6ed9fe800100</p><p>Resources and Experiments for Undergraduateshttp://lawr.ucdavis.edu/classes/ssc102/http://links.baruch.sc.edu/faculty/Neubauer/Research.htmhttp://www-esd.lbl.gov/CIG/biogeochemistry/jrigce.htmlhttp://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/geochemistry/</p><p>activities/9151.htmlhttp://www.rpi.edu/dept/chem-eng/Biotech-Environ/MISC/</p><p>phytorem.htmlhttp://www.clu-in.org/techfocus/default.focus/sec/</p><p>Phytoremediation/cat/Overview/http://sgs.cnr.colostate.edu/ProgressReports/</p><p>2005_sitereview/booklet/BGC%20Field%20Tour%20FINAL.pdf</p><p>http://cbs.umn.edu/cbri/lisa/web/</p><p>Worl</p><p>d W</p><p>ide </p><p>Web</p><p> Addre</p><p>sses</p><p>The access date for all sites is December 2005.</p><p>Figure 2. Thewoody materialin this compost-amended soilprovides struc-ture and wil lbreak down, en-riching the soilwith carbon.</p><p>Photo: Jeff Vanuga, USD</p><p>A N</p><p>RCS</p><p>http://www.jce.divched.org/Journal/http://www.jce.divched.org/Journal/Issues/2006/http://www.jce.divched.org/http://www.bottlebiology.org/investigations/decomp_main.htmlhttp://www.bottlebiology.org/investigations/decomp_main.htmlhttp://www.fieldmuseum.org/undergroundadventure/virtual_tour/index.shtml#http://www.fieldmuseum.org/undergroundadventure/virtual_tour/index.shtml#http://www.fieldmuseum.org/undergroundadventure/teachers/mud_shake.shtml#http://www.fieldmuseum.org/undergroundadventure/teachers/mud_shake.shtml#http://www.soils.org/smithsonian/education.htmlhttp://www.soils.org/smithsonian/education.htmlhttp://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/gpe/http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/gpe/http://library.thinkquest.org/J003195F/activiti.htmhttp://library.thinkquest.org/J003195F/activiti.htmhttp://soils.usda.gov/education/http://soil.gsfc.nasa.gov/links.htmhttp://www.isric.nl/http://www.enviroliteracy.org/subcategory.php/36.htmlhttp://soil.hostweb.org.uk/http://soils.usda.gov/gallery/http://soils.usda.gov/technical/classification/orders/http://www.itc.nl/~rossiter/research/rsrch_ss_img.htmlhttp://photogallery.nrcs.usda.govhttp://www.soilcrust.org/gallery.htmhttp://www.thin.stir.ac.uk/gallery/index.phphttp://www.soils.wisc.edu/virtual_museum/som/index.htmlhttp://www.bottlebiology.org/investigations/decomp_main.htmlhttp://www.bottlebiology.org/investigations/decomp_main.htmlhttp://www.fieldmuseum.org/undergroundadventure/virtual_tour/index.shtml#http://www.fieldmuseum.org/undergroundadventure/virtual_tour/index.shtml#http://www.fieldmuseum.org/undergroundadventure/teachers/mud_shake.shtml#http://www.fieldmuseum.org/undergroundadventure/teachers/mud_shake.shtml#http://www.soils.org/smithsonian/education.htmlhttp://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/gpe/http://library.thinkquest.org/J003195F/activiti.htmhttp://www.wtamu.edu/%7Ecrobinson/DrDirt/filter.htmlhttp://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/wondernetdisplay.html?DOC=wondernet%5Cactivities%5Csoil%5Csoilsizes.htmlhttp://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/wondernetdisplay.html?DOC=wondernet%5Cactivities%5Csoil%5Csoilsizes.htmlhttp://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/wondernetdisplay.html?DOC=wondernet%5Cactivities%5Csoil%5Csoilsizes.htmlhttp://soil.gsfc.nasa.gov/elec/soilelec.htmhttp://soil.gsfc.nasa.gov/filter/filter.htmhttp://www.wtamu.edu/~crobinson/SoilWater/capillar.htmlhttp://www.beloit.edu/~SEPM/Earth_Works/How_fast_do_sed.htmlhttp://www.beloit.edu/~SEPM/Earth_Works/How_fast_do_sed.htmlhttp://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEC/AEF/1996/graham_ecosystem.htmlhttp://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEC/AEF/1996/graham_ecosystem.htmlhttp://chemistry.org/portal/resources/?id=45dc03da647211d7e52c6ed9fe800100http://chemistry.org/portal/resources/?id=45dc03da647211d7e52c6ed9fe800100http://www.chemistry.org/portal/resources/ACS/ACSContent/education/curriculum/chemmatters/tg0403_phytoremediation.pdfhttp://www.chemistry.org/portal/resources/ACS/ACSContent/education/curriculum/chemmatters/tg0403_phytoremediation.pdfhttp://www.chemistry.org/portal/resources/ACS/ACSContent/education/curriculum/chemmatters/tg0403_phytoremediation.pdfhttp://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/feature_tea.html?id=6445e97ac1da11d6f70d6ed9fe800100http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/feature_tea.html?id=6445e97ac1da11d6f70d6ed9fe800100http://lawr.ucdavis.edu/classes/ssc102/http://links.baruch.sc.edu/faculty/Neubauer/Research.htmhttp://www-esd.lbl.gov/CIG/biogeochemistry/jrigce.htmlhttp://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/geochemistry/activities/9151.htmlhttp://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/geochemistry/activities/9151.htmlhttp://www.rpi.edu/dept/chem-eng/Biotech-Environ/MISC/phytorem.htmlhttp://www.rpi.edu/dept/chem-eng/Biotech-Environ/MISC/phytorem.htmlhttp://www.clu-in.org/techfocus/default.focus/sec/Phytoremediation/cat/Overview/http://www.clu-in.org/techfocus/default.focus/sec/Phytoremediation/cat/Overview/http://sgs.cnr.colostate.edu/ProgressReports/2005_sitereview/booklet/BGC%20Field%20Tour%20FINAL.pdfhttp://sgs.cnr.colostate.edu/ProgressReports/2005_sitereview/booklet/BGC%20Field%20Tour%20FINAL.pdfhttp://sgs.cnr.colostate.edu/ProgressReports/2005_sitereview/booklet/BGC%20Field%20Tour%20FINAL.pdfhttp://cbs.umn.edu/cbri/lisa/web/</p></li><li><p>Chemical Education Today</p><p>www.JCE.DivCHED.org Vol. 83 No. 2 February 2006 Journal of Chemical Education 203</p><p>tions for a number of inquiry-based soil activities. Comparethe soil filter activity there with this one from Dr. Dirt:http://www.wtamu.edu/%7Ecrobinson/DrDirt/filter.html.WonderNet, Your Science Place in CyberSpace, outlines soilscience activities as well: http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1 / w o n d e r n e t d i s p l a y. h t m l ? D O C = w o n d e r n e t % 5 Cactivities%5Csoil%5Csoilsizes.html.</p><p>Resources for High School Students</p><p>For high school students, more advanced investigationsare available. Links from sites already mentioned include ac-tivities or experiments suited to high schoolers, including twofrom the NASA site: Soils As Electrical Systems (http://soil.gsfc.nasa.gov/elec/soilelec.htm), and Filtering Qualities o...</p></li></ul>