Soil 1125 The Soil Resource & Soil 5125
Fall 2012 -4 credits: MW from 6:20 pm to 9:00 pm in 365 Borlaug Hall & (Soil 5125 - Soil Science for Teachers)
Welcome to The Soil Resource. 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: 4-5 on Monday. 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 Borlaug Hall ;
I have been teaching beginning 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 so they are a sustainable resource. I also teach courses in Soil Geography, Field Study of Soils, Problem Solving for Environmental Review and the ESPM Internship course.
LECTURE: Monday in 365 Borlaug Hall. NOTE: We will start class promptly at 6:20; your arrival on time is most appreciated. If you are late, please gently enter the room from the north (left) door. 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. If you bring your supper to class, eat quietly. Lectures will 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: Immediately following Lecture in Room 243a Borlaug Hall. (approximately 8 - 9 pm. )
During recitation you will have two exams that cover the material from the previous 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 Monday you may send your Webexam answers via e-mail as long as I receive it before your recitation time.
LABORATORY: Room 243 Borlaug- Lab Hours: Monday - 8-4, Tuesday 8-5 and Wednesday 8-4:00 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. 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) 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. 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=26 pts.
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 (WE). These exams cover material from the previous 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 previous 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 90%. Web exams will be 10 to 15 multiple choice questions that are available on your CD and in the course packet. Only the answers need to be turned in. The midterm and final exams will be the same or similar to the Webexam questions.
Questions for all exams can come from: Lecture, Laboratory, or Web Units. Lecture Exam Midterm: Midterm will be available beginning on Oct 29. Please schedule 1.5 hours to take the midterm on Monday after 8:00 am to 4:45pm, Tuesday between 8 am and 4 pm, Exam will consist of 40 multiple choice questions from units 1-6. The MC questions will be similar to the Webexams.
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 on 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/ )
Land Use Project is due Friday December 7 at 4:00 pm (or before) in room 243a Borlaug.
FINAL EXAM 7:00 to 9:00 pm on Monday, December 10 - Room 365 Borlaug Hall. The Final Exam will consist of 40 multiple choice questions from units 7-13. The MC questions will be similar to the Webexams. The Final Exam will be worth 13% of your course grade.
Grading Percentages: Lecture Dyads=5% Team Exams=20 % Web Exams 20 % Midterm Exam=12% Lab Assignments=10% Land Use Project=20% Final Exam=13 % 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 and the final exam 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 Katie Edmond 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.
This course meets the CLE requirement Physical Science core course with lab.
Understanding physical phenomena, employing quantitative analysis, understanding of scientific method are accomplished in the two hour weekly self paced laboratory, lecture and discussion sections.
The laboratory units investigate the following physical aspects of soil. Topics are also covered in lecture and readings to assist students in laboratory investigations a) Rocks and Weathering; students explore rock types and weathering processes, students investigate physical and chemical processes that take place in nature to change rocks into soil. Students conduce weathering experiments. b) Soil Texture; students investigate soil texture using physical properties of density of a medium as measure by a hydrometer, students determine soil texture using the feel method, students explore how soil texture effects soil properties and how different conditions cause different soil texture. Students conduce texture experiments. c) Students observe soil structure, soil color using standard observation techniques and use this information for determining soil horizons. d) Soil formation and classification; students determine how soils are classified using soil profiles and the physical and chemical properties of soils. e) Soil Bulk Density; students investigate soil weight using standard laboratory equipment. Students prepare samples for determining water content and work math formulas for calculations of density. Students conduct compaction and bulk density experiments. f) Soil Water; students determine water content of soil samples they prepared and use these to further investigate the properties of infiltration, permeability and available water holding capacity. Students conduce soil water experiments. g) Soil Survey; Students learn how to use a computer program "Web Soil Survey" to investigate how to determine soil properties on any given piece of land in the U.S.A. Later this still is used for a term project and many future courses they will take. h) Soil Erosion; students math to calculate the tons of soil loss per acre using the USLE. Components of the formula are obtained by conducting laboratory investigations of slope, texture, crop residue, crop rotations and conservation practices. Students conduct soil erosion experiments. i) Soil Chemical Properties; students investigate in the laboratory soil pH, soil CEC and how these properties are used to measure the lime requirement for changing soil pH. Students conduct soil pH experiments. j) Soil Fertility; students investigate the ways soil nutrients are measure in a soil testing lab and use this information to make fertilizer recommendations for a lawn and garden. All lab investigations require a written report that is graded by the lab TA. The Environment Theme is met by students completing the following discussions during each week of the course. Environmental Theme: Major environmental issues raised in this course include: 1) Relation of Soil horizons to the ability of the soil to retard or remediate pollutants added to the soil. IE: students are required to examine soil profiles and based on their observation make determinations about whether this soil could be used for remediation of waste, students also discuss the problems of waste generation and why the soil works better in helping society eliminate waste than does our lakes and rivers. 2) Soils of the world, their potential for erosion and problems caused by their degradation and the environmental problems caused by the decline of the soil resource. IE: students study the role of soil in providing food to the world and examine what happens to countries that have destroyed their soil resource; discussions take place about the impact of the soil resource and why civilizations (including our own) have not done a very good job. Discussion also takes place on population control and conservation reserve program. Special attention is given to the natural environment and human issues. 3) Use of soils for clean up of urban problems: septic tank drain fields, use of area as related to soils as a sanitary landfill, building on unsuitable soils and the damage to the environment as a result. Examples are used about people building drain fields too close to lakes and polluting the lake, discussion about ethics on building a system that works as planned, rather than working for a short time and stopping after the warranty. Using soils information to make sure every person understands why knowledge of soils is important for home buyers. 4) Soil tillage, conservation tillage and the resulting saving of soil as a result of better conservation practices. IE: Looking at the land stewardship project in the upper Midwest to better manage our soil resources by farmers. Why do farmers take care of their land while others exploit it. Discussions about conservation practices. Each student makes decisions on a piece of land about choosing the management plan. Raising the issue of public policy as related to soil erosion is accomplished using role playing. 5) Soil erosion and control practices, problems created by soil erosion in our waters. IE: discussion of the problems on nonpoint pollution and why it is a tremendous cost to society both in terms of land degradation but also pollution of the water. Discussing why society must pay farmers to be better stewards of the land since it is cheaper to stop erosion than it is to remove sediment. Calculations of total soil loss. 6) The water holding capacity of soil and how this is used in water budgets for irrigation scheduling and for flood forecasting. IE: Understanding how the soil is a reservoir for rain water, looking at the need for accurate data and how all citizens are responsible for assisting in protecting our water resource and flood plain resource, not just building on it. Discussions of who should pay when people build on a flood plain and then flooding occurs. Water Calculations are used to aid in problem solving skills. 7) Organic soil amendments and how the soils can clean up organic pollutants placed in or on the soil composting and the role it plays in cleaning up the environment, Carbon cycle and the influence of the soil on global warming. IE: using the soil to clean up wastes from society. Why do we have wastes, why should we use the soil and not the water. Discussion about the role of society to better understand how the "ecology" of the planet works in that nothing is ever thrown away, it is just moved from one location to another. Students learn about the need to have a sustainable ethic regarding waste. 8) Cation exchange and its impact on heavy metal uptake to protect the environment. IE: discussions of lead in the environment and how it got there and what we can do about it to protect our children, discussion about who should pay for the removal of contaminated soils and damage caused by lead contamination. Calculations of total CEC and nutrient needs. 9) Impact of Nitrogen on the environment and how it can be managed to prevent degradation. IE: understanding the nitrogen cycle, discussions about which kind of nitrogen should be used and implications for the environment when only the cost is considered and not the other benefits from other sources. 10) Fertilizers: calculating the correct amount to apply to avoid overuse, determine the cheapest cost per pound of nutrient and type of fertilizer to use to make proper fertilizer recommendations, understanding the role of nutrients in plant production and issues about their management in an environmentally sound way. IE: giving students an appreciation for the cost of fertilizers and making them decide about what they want to use for their own garden or yard, bringing the decision to a personal example and looking at how their decision affects the environment 11) Sustainable agriculture: influence of soil on decision making, ability of farmer to make the decision about choosing a sustainable system, economic issues and environmental issues are discussed. IE: Looking at how the soil is an integral part of any sustainable agriculture system, understanding when the soil is or is not "healthy" and how this will affect the farmers well being. Discussions about - should society pay for making sure that all farms are managed in a sustainable way. Using role play to have students make this decision for society. 12) Environmental quality: Use of soil in bioremediation, influence of agriculture on the environment, problems of man-made materials and their lack of decomposition in soils. IE: discussions about the need to make all non-reusable items out of material that will degrade in the soil, how would this impact our waste and should it be a goal of society, how should we make this product. 13) World Food Problems: Understanding of the role of a sustainable soil resource in providing a sustainable food supply to planet earth.