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Soil Science goes to Rudolfo Torres Elementary School

Soil Science goes to Rudolfo Torres Elementary School

By Stacey Kloesel, Soil Scientist, Rosenberg, TX

Stacey Kloesel, Soil Scientist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil Survey Office in Rosenberg, gave a presentation about soils to the fourth-grade class at Rudolfo Torres Elementary School in Victoria, Texas on Monday, January 25, 2010.

During the demonstration, Kloesel explained to the students how soil is formed and the importance of soil to all living things. Students did not realize that humans rely on the soil for survival. �We need soil to provide food, clothing, and shelter, and without those items, we wouldn�t be able to survive,� Kloesel told the students.

The fourth graders already had an introduction to the vocabulary used in soil science, during classroom instruction. The vocabulary included basic terminology such as, organic versus inorganic materials, and the soil textures�sand, clay, loam, silt, and gravel. The students were also learning about some important properties of the different soil textures, such as the soils capacity to retain water, and its ability to support life. Kloesel reinforced the student�s knowledge of these properties by demonstrating with a visual experiment the effects water has upon sandy, silty, and clayey soils. Students then participated in a hands-on demonstration, where they were able to feel examples of sand, silt, and clay, as well as, examine the different colors within the soil.

The 66 students and the fourth-grade teachers appreciated the presentation and hands-on demonstration. Kimberly Jurena, a fourth-grade teacher at Torres Elementary said, �We will definitely benefit from the horizon and color models.� Learning about the different soil properties and the importance of soil will be beneficial to the fourth-graders, because later in the week they were going to perform their own experiment to determine the water holding capacity of different types of soils.

Fourth graders getting their hands dirty during the hands-on demonstration--texturing sand, silt, and clay soils as well as the high organic matter (humus) soils.

Fourth graders getting their hands dirty during the hands-on demonstration--texturing sand, silt, and clay soils as well as the high organic matter (humus) soils.