Curriculum Unit: Environment

Us Taiwan Eco Campus
Project Name: Earth Stewardship Project
Age Level: 12-14 (Middle), 15-18 (Secondary)
Length of Unit: 5 weeks
Subject Areas: Science

This unit in physical science includes the application of scientific investigations to the testing of physical properties of different soil samples and characterizing the quality of the physical composition of soil matter taken from soil samples in the local environment.  

Teams of students will be involved in a process of doing science that challenges their skills and abilities to gather data, record observations and perform analysis of experimental results.  Measurements of soil physical characteristics are studied to determine the effects that these characteristics have on producing quality soils.

Summary of documented physical measurements of soil samples from all participating schools will be posted and shared in a digital format on the iEARN Network within the Earth Stewardship Project.  Students will be able to compare and contrast recorded physical attributes posted by other students working on the project providing opportunities to open discussion as to reasons for differences in soil texture within the local school environment and at  schools from across the world.

Information gathered from these scientific investigations will develop students’ ability to assess causations, analyze correlations and diagnosis the effect different variables have upon mixtures of soil and their resulting ability to support plant growth.

Week 1: Investigation into Soil Composition
Week 2: Investigation into Soil Infiltration and Percolation
Week 3: Critical Assessment of Findings
Week 4: Investigation on Soil Density
Week 5: Presentation of Findings/What can we do to improve quality?

Essential Questions

What are optimal physical conditions of a soil mediums support plant growth and what can we do to improve plant growth in our area?

Final Outcome/Products

Scientific investigations conducted utilizing students’ skills and abilities in experimental analysis, evaluation of experimental data and assessment of recorded observations.

Whole-class shared experiences and orchestrated team presentations that contribute to the selection of optimal soil conditions designed to maximize plant growth.

Journal writings on scientific findings, email correspondence with peers throughout the world, blog postings, newsletter publications, YouTube productions along with website and Facebook presentations.

Content Standards and Sustainable Development Goals

Content Standards

Developing and Using Models

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds.

Sustainable Development Goals

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.  

Develop agricultural practices that help strengthen the resilience of the ecosystem and strengthen its capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other environmental disasters, while maintaining improved land and soil quality.

Project’s Contribution to Others and the Planet

The emphasis of the project is to link understanding of physical and chemical characteristics to plant growth and the production of food.  Sharing scientific results about different environments that we live in will help motivate student discussions about how we live, what we believe in and how we see ourselves as members of humanity on this planet.

The ability to share ideas about scientifically determined effective ways to grow crops is the essence of this project.  It provides the means by which we can connect and dialog with each other on a very fundamental manner.  This project provides the venue for students to share a common necessity and that is producing food.  This basic human endeavor ties us together and helps unite our efforts to find solutions to this pressing problem for all people on this planet.