133-3 Cyber Shovels In High School: An Online Soil Science Resource for Educators.

Poster Number 512

See more from this Division: S05 Pedology
See more from this Session: Innovations In Soil Science Education: II
Monday, October 17, 2011
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Hall C
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Maja Krzic1, Nathan Basiliko2, Angela Bedard-Haughn3, Elyn Humphreys4, Gordon Price5, Lesley Dampier6, Saeed Dyanatkar7, Rachel Strivelli1, Jason Shabaga2, Carolyn Winsborough2, Tara Sackett2, Joseph D. Gillis8 and Chris Crowley7, (1)Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
(2)Department of Geography, University of Toronto-Mississauga, Mississauga, ON, Canada
(3)University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
(4)Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada
(5)Department of Engineering, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Turo, NS, Canada
(6)University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC, Canada
(7)Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
(8)Nova Scotia Agricultural College/Dalhousie University, Truro, NS, Canada
Declining enrolment in soil science courses at post-secondary institutions in Canada and around the world tells us that fewer high school students are considering a career in this discipline than ever before.  This may be due to several reasons: soil science programs losing visibility as they are incorporated into other, larger programs; a lack of awareness of what opportunities exist for soil science professionals; or an inhibition of high school educators to use soil science scenarios as examples in their regular science curriculum.  In 2010, we initiated a three-year, collaborative, multi-institutional project aimed at introducing soil science concepts 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. 

We have developed a prototype for this teaching tool which features five main themes: (1) descriptions of soil research projects currently undertaken by faculty at five universities across Canada; (2) links to age-appropriate soil related resources that provide exercises and examples teachers can easily incorporate into the curriculum; (3) profiles of soil scientists “at work” in a diverse range of careers to motivate future soil scientists; (4) examples of recent news stories about soil to highlight its relevance in our day to day lives; and (5) a soil forum for students and teachers to ask questions.  This tool will be further refined by incorporating feedback obtained from high school teachers, their students, and undergraduates.  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.

See more from this Division: S05 Pedology
See more from this Session: Innovations In Soil Science Education: II