Soil 2125 - Basic Soil Science- Fall 2012 -4 credits: MWF from 9:35 to 10:25 in 335 Borlaug Hall.
Welcome to Basic Soils. I hope you will find this class interesting, enjoyable, and valuable. Our primary goal over the next 14 weeks is to learn about the five major areas of Soil Science. Understanding the classification system, physical properties, chemical properties, biological properties, and the fertility of soil will allow you to plan the use of an area of land according to the soil's potential. Together we can discover why soils are such an important natural resource. Without soil, the world as we know it would be a much different place. Learning how to protect our soil resource will be an important job for all of us in the future.
INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Terry Cooper- Office 244 Borlaug Hall- phone 612-625-7747 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org - Campus Mail 439 Borlaug Hall. My US mail box is in room 439 Borlaug, 1991 Upper Buford Circle, St. Paul, 55108. My secretary in 439 is Jenny Brand. You can leave things with her and she will put them in my mail box.
Cooper's Office Hours: 8:10 to 9:10 A.M.. MTW. You are welcome to make an appointment for any other time also. The best way to contact me is via e-mail. I have voice mail but I may miss your message.
I do not have a preference as to how you address me. You can use: Dr. or Professor, or Mr. or Terry, whatever is comfortable for you
Teaching Assistant -Katie Edmond - Office in 243a -
I have been teaching basic soils since 1975 and since 1980 at the University of Minnesota. I have a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Soil Science. I have worked for the Natural Resource and Conservation Service and the US Forest Service as a soil scientist. I am very interested in protecting our soil resources. I also teach courses in Soil Geography, Field Study of Soils, Problem Solving for Environmental Review and the ESPM Internship course.
LECTURE: Monday & Wednesday in 335 Borlaug Hall.
NOTE: We will start class promptly at 9:35; your arrival on time is most appreciated. If you are late, please use the doors in the back of the room to enter.
Lecture is a time for me to explain important concepts and to keep you interested in the study of soil science. I have all my lectures on Power Point and have placed them as a Power Point presentation on the course CD. Your course packet also has the printed lectures. If you wish to bring a different format to lecture of the notes; you are welcome to print your own version of the notes. Attending lecture is very important.
Lecturewill be more useful to you if you have read the information in the Web Readings before coming to lecture (link=http://www.swac.umn.edu/classes/soil2125/doc/labunts.htm). These units are also on the CD.
Recitation: Thursday times: 1) 9:35-10:25; 2) 10:40-11:30; 3) 11:45 12:35 pm & 12:50 to 1:40 pm - Room 243a Borlaug Hall. During recitation on Thursday you will have two exams that cover the material from the week.
1) "Team Exam". The Team exam will provide you the opportunity to discuss with class members the answers to relevant problems about soils. If you are absent from class, it may be possible to take a makeup exam. This would need to be completed before the next class period. Make-up exams are worth 80% of in class exams.
2) "Webexams" must be turned in at the start of recitation. Answers to Webexams will be posted the following Tuesday mornings. If you know you are going to be absent from class Thursday you may send your Webexam answers via e-mail as long as I receive it before your recitation time. Answers to Webexams will be available the week after they are due (except for exam Fridays when they will be sent out on Thursday evening.
LABORATORY: Room 243 Borlaug- Lab Hours: Monday - 10-4, Tuesday 9-5 and Wednesday 10-4:00 and 4:00 to 9:00 P.M., (Tentative Schedule) Investigations: IT IS IMPORTANT TO READ THE WEB LAB UNITS on the CD BEFORE DOING THE LABORATORY.
The Laboratory is an open lab where you can come and work at your own pace. It will generally take you one to two hours to complete the lab activities. The lab is used to help you see, touch, smell, weigh, moisten, listen, taste, (OK, maybe not taste) the SOIL. The laboratory is designed to help you learn about concepts presented in lecture and in the Web Readings. Fill out the Laboratory Investigation Form. These will be graded by the TA in the Lab after you completed the lab. If a TA is not present when you finish you may get it graded at a later time, just return when the lab is open and a TA is present.
It is very important to READ the Web Lab Units before going to the lab. TA's are in the lab to help you, but they will not read the information in the Web Lab Units to you.
Texts: Lecture: 1) Elements of the Nature and Properties of Soils by Brady and Weil. NOT REQUIRED BUT RECOMMENDED (most any edition will be sufficient 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th) 2) Soils and Landscapes of MN. Anderson, Grigal & Cooper (http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/ cropsystems/DC2331.html) 3) Laboratory & Lecture Packet: Available from instructor at cost ($20.00). Make checks out to: University of Minnesota. 4) CD that contains Web Lab Units, Power Point Lecture notes, Laboratory Investigations, and Course Information: This CD is provided by instructor.
The readings for this course are found in the Web Lab Units. That is why a text book is not required. You must read the Web Lab Units and use them as your text. Many exam questions are found in the Web Lab Units. Teaching Method: This course will use lecture, laboratory and web reading assignments to present information about soils. From time to time video clips in lecture will also present information.
During a typical class period, I will begin with general business, and then will present two (approximately 20 minute) segments of material broken up by a "Lecture Dyad." In recitation I will answer questions at the beginning of class and the rest of the period will be used by students to complete the team exam. Laboratory investigations will provide you with another "hands on" approach to learning about soils. Often the activities in laboratory will be used for a segment of the team exam.
Student Roles: I hope this will be a positive learning experience for you; to that end, I want to be as clear as possible about my expectations. I expect you to read the Web Lab Units for the week before class on Monday and again before you do the laboratory. I expect you to attend class unless serious circumstances prevent that, in which case, I would appreciate you speaking with me about your absence. I expect you to take yourself and the material seriously, refusing to stop at the absolute minimum requirements. What you learn in this class will be used again in many of your other advanced courses. It is important that you learn the material.
Your success in this course will depend on several factors: 1) attendance and participation in class discussion; 2) being an active member of your team during recitation, 3) actively participating in your laboratory experience; 4) taking all exams seriously, studying for them, and spending time on their completion; and 5) giving yourself the time needed to prepare your land use report. You are expected to be attentive during class, ask questions if you do not understand something, and participate in class discussions. You are also expected to listen respectfully to others when they are speaking. You are by definition a very diverse group of students, even if on the surface you all may look more or less homogeneous. Diversity is strength in our society at large and here at the University of Minnesota.
In this class, you will be asked to maintain an open mind to the differences around you, and you are encouraged to place positive value on those differences. Points of view may be actively argued but the speakers are to be respected as essentially fair-minded individuals working to enlarge their thinking about ideas, people and soil.
GRADING: Lecture Dyads: Each lecture we will take a short break to discuss with a partner some relevant soils topic. These dyads will be worth two points. If you are not in lecture that day you will not receive your two points. Dyads are graded as a 1 or a 2. Total Dyad Points=56. There is no make-up for Dyads.
Laboratory Assignments: Laboratory Investigations will have various activities for you to do. Record your observations on the lab sheets provided in the Lab Packet materials. Have you lab report checked by a TA after completion. Lab Reports are worth 5 points each. Total Possible=65 pts (5 x 13 labs)
Exams: In Recitations there will always be a Team Exam and a Webexam will be due. These exams cover material from the current week. See the Weekly Schedule for the exam schedule. Team exams are open book and can be cumulative but will generally cover the material from the week. You will be assigned to a three or four person team in recitation. If you miss a Team Exam it may be possible for a make-up, but it must be completed before the next recitation.
Make-up exams are worth only 90% of the in class exam.
Web exams will be 10 to 15 multiple choice questions in the course packe and that are available on your CD. Only the answers need to be turned in. The four lecture exams will be the same or similar to the Webexam questions. Questions for all exams can come from: Lecture, Laboratory, or Web Units. Web Exams are due at the start of your recitation. Place them in the recitation folder. Your graded Web Exam can be picked up the following week from the recitation folder.
Lecture Exams will be on three Fridays and one Wednesday. (see schedule in Weekly Schedule -10/5; 10/26; 11/16 & 12/12). Exams will consist of 30 multiple choice questions. The MC questions will be similar to the Webexams. The four lecture exams will be worth 25% of your course grade.
Land Use Project: Each person will complete a Land Use Project. A specific section (640 acres) of a township in a county will be chosen by you. You will determine the most desirable land use according to the soil capabilities on that parcel. This project will design the use of the land according to the soil's potential. Details on this project provided in the course packet and on the CD (lecture 8b Land Use Project).
The Land Use Project is graded on both content and style. If you need help in your writing skills use the Student Writing Support Center at (http://writing.umn.edu/sws/ ) The Land Use Project is due on Friday December 7, at 10:30 am.
Grading Percentages: Lecture Dyads=5%
Team Exams=20 %
Lecture Exams=25 %
Land Use Project=20%
Course Grades: Course grades will be determined using a curve of A> 89%, B>79%, C> 69%, D> 59%. Final Course Grades will use the + and - system of grading. The class average is expected to be 76%(C+)
Teaching Philosophy: Studying about soils is difficult because we have lots of new terms that you need to learn and understand. Thus, each week I want you to be learning these terms and new concepts. Web Exams will be used to determine your understanding of these terms and concepts. I also want you to discuss these terms and concepts with others and use them to solve problems. Team Exams will provide you the opportunity to show your understanding of these terms while solving soils problems. I also want you to be able to use these terms and concepts in real world situations. Thus, the experiments and demonstrations in the laboratory will require your use of the terms and concepts. The land use project will allow you to practice all of your soils skills at the end of the semester. I also hope that you will remember some of these terms and concepts as you move on to other classes. The lecture exams will measure your retention of these terms and concepts. I want to provide the student with many ways to see the terms and concepts we study in soils, thus we have lecture, lab, Web Lab Units, and discussion. This will give you lots of exposure and practice. The more you practice the better you will be.
Exams are just one way to evaluate your success. If you do the assignments, attend class, and participate regularly you will be successful. If you are having trouble at any time during the semester, please see me or the TA for assistance. Studying soils should be fun and we want to make it so.
If any student has disabilities that need special consideration, please see me early in the semester so we can develop a plan that will accommodate you.