This chapter discusses how human actions have caused soil erosion and pollution of the land surface, as well as how these problems can be prevented.
See the following Web sites for appropriate laboratory activities:
The “Soil and Erosion” lab at the following URL allows students to use science inquiry to investigate the effects of rainfall-induced erosion on bare soil versus vegetated soil. Students will form and test a hypothesis and control variables. The lab uses simple materials, available from a supermarket and garden center, including aluminum pans, soil, and plants. The lab could easily be extended or modified to test the effects of other variables, such as slope, on erosion of soil by water.
With the lab described at the URL below, students will gain an appreciation for how scientists determine the human health effects of hazardous substances. Students will also demonstrate how hazardous substances can affect the health of test animals. (Note: This activity involves the exposure of worms to a hazardous substance. Some students may object to this on ethical grounds. Provide these students with an alternative activity.)
These Web sites may also be helpful:
At the following URL from the Soil Science Society of America, you can find a collection of middle school teaching resources pertaining to soil.
You can find excellent photos and videos of soil erosion, including historical images from the Dust Bowl, at this URL: http://www.soilerosion.net/doc/photos_videos.html.
Additional soil erosion videos are available here: http://www.ewg.org/losingground/index.html.
At the following URL, you can access Hazed teaching materials from the EPA. The materials include interdisciplinary activities that focus on scientific, technical, and policy issues relating to hazardous waste sites and the Superfund. They are designed to help middle and high school students develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making. They also increase environmental awareness and encourage an environmental ethic in students.
Pacing the Lessons
Class Period(s) (60 min)
19.1 Loss of Soil
19.2 Pollution of the Land