See more from this Session: Innovations In Soil Science Education: I
Monday, October 17, 2011: 8:35 AM
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 206B, Concourse Level
High school curricula across Canada do not place any focus on the importance of soil as a medium for plant growth and maintenance of environmental quality. Typically, students do not discover soil’s ecological importance until late in their university education. To train the next generation of environmental stewards, we need to change this misleading paradigm, and the best place to start is in high school. Today’s high school students will become future policy makers and land managers and as such they need to be aware of current issues facing the world’s soil resources and have scientifically sound principles to drive their decision-making around these issues. In 2010, we initiated a three-year, collaborative, multi-institutional project aimed at introducing soil science concepts and potential career paths into high school curricula across Canada. The goals of this project are to promote learning about the importance of soil as a natural resource, provide useful tools that high school educators can easily incorporate into their lesson plans, and encourage students to pursue soil science in their higher education. During year 1, project collaborators compiled resources to highlight their research expertise, while in year 2, are focused on developing an open-access website that will feature following main themes: (1) soil research projects;( 2) soil links and resource; (3) soil scientists at work; (4) soil in the news; and (5) a soil forum for students to ask questions. An early prototype of the website has been developed and feedback mechanisms for high school science teachers and students have been established. In year 3, we will focus on refining the website and incorporating feedback from both students and educators. Upon completion of the initial three years, we plan to expand the scope of the project by including additional examples of research projects and interviews with soil scientists from all Canadian provinces and territories. An interactive overview of the website will be given during the presentation.