This lesson is ecology themed and based on creative, hands-on group work. Students look at how food is grown and how it relates back to soil and the ecosystem. Exercises include a group lab where students examine real soil samples, and a short film that helps students put exercises in a real-world context.
Students taking part in this lesson will be able to demonstrate the importance soil to the ecosystem by examining samples of dirt in peer groups and devising their own real world answers and actions to combat contemporary ecological issues.
This lesson brings awareness of pressing contemporary issues facing students, and real-life solutions that can be applied at the individual and local scale, learning from today’s leading-edge science and natural ‘biodynamic’ farms.
This lesson integrates with common core standards
- C3 Framework for Social Studies – D2.Geo.5 (grades 3-5), D2.Geo.5 (grades 6-12)
- Next Generation Science Standards – ESS3-4 (grades 3-4, MS, HS), HS-LS2-8 (grades 9-12)
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization our soils will largely be destroyed within 60 years if we continue our modern farming methods. This issue, caused by large scale industrial agriculture, is predicted to lead to worldwide starvation and numerous irreversible ecological issues.
Patrick Lydon and Suhee Kang spent four years exploring regenerative farms in Japan, Korea, and the United States, investigating the relationship between farming methods and the ability for the soil to produce food. The experiences of these farmers reflects a growing body of scientific research showing how small-scale, low-input agriculture may be the only option for feeding the earth’s population into the future.
Project Team and Partners
Developed by Patrick Lydon and Suhee Kang, in partnership with Patrice Milillo, executive director of Art is Power, and Lien Do, teacher at Castlemont Elementary School.