Our 4th and 5th grade students are delving into the soil. Since we’ll be growing food in this space, we want to understand where the plants are getting their nutrients from. Following guidelines from the statewide soil testing lab at U. Mass Amherst, (http://ag.umass.edu/soil-plant-tissue-testing-lab/fact-sheets/sampling-instructions-for-routine-soil-analysis) we learned how to take a soil sample. Conveniently, we needed to make multiple samples from throughout the area where we’ll be growing food, and we have lots of students. As we prepared to dig 6-8 inches down, we found… the ground in January is frozen!
Our next step to understand both what is soil and what is our relationship to it started with a look at the words Adam and Adamah. The Hebrew shoresh (root) of the words is the same, and gives us a clue to their relationship. The best way to show that correlation in English would be to say Earth and Earthling.
We watching a video, “What’s the Dirt on ... Dirt?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if29mjcd5bc and learned the four essential components: minerals, water, air and organic matter. We then thought about what we, as earthlings, have control over, and what we don’t. Breaking down the organic matter, we learned the two main ingredients in compost- carbon and nitrogen.
Going deeper, we watched a video, “Who needs Dirt?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCSIrlk0GTs and learned a bit about the organs of plants.