Youth Soil Quality Lessons and Videos

The quality of soil depends upon a variety of factors. NRCS has developed Soil Quality Kit Guides, fact sheets and materials for teachers to integrate into their soils curriculum. In addition, a curriculum has been developed to use in the classroom. These materials were created with funds provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust.  YouTube videos supplement this curricula as well.

Testing for physical properties of soil
Soil Glue Demonstration Video

Components and Physical Properties of Soil

Surface soil particles are held together, or "glued together," by various organic substances to create stable soil aggregates. These soil aggregates make it possible for air and water to move through the soil and during a rainstorm, are harder to wash away.

Lesson Plan on the Physical Properties of Soil PDF and Word  |  Powerpoint
Lesson Plan on Soil Glue PDF

Video: Soil Glue Demonstration

Plant & Soil Sciences eLibrary: Physical Properties of Soil | Quiz


Soil Organic Matter Test Video
Soil Organic Matter Test Video
SOM Overview Video - US Map of SOM
Soil Organic Matter Overview Video

Soil Organic Matter

Soil organic matter is the most important soil attribute you can manage for to improve soil health. It consists of small plant residues and living organisms, decomposing organic matter, and stable organic matter (humus) and serves as a reservoir for crop nutrients.

Lesson Plan PDF and Word  | Powerpoint

Videos: Overview | Test

NRCS Guide: PDF and Word

Plant & Soil Sciences eLibrary: Soil Organic Matter | Quiz


Testing soil texture video
Texture by Feel Video

Using the Soil Textural Triangle

Soil texture plays a large role in crop production. Learn how to use a simple procedure to identify soil texture using a composite soil sample from the field and what differentiates a sandy or sil loam from a silty clay loam or silty clay and other soil types.

Lesson Plan PDF and Word | Texture by Feel Key

Video: Texture by Feel Procedure

Plant & Soil Sciences eLibrary: Soil Texture


Testing soil water by hand video
Estimating Soil Moisture Video

Estimating Soil Moisture by Feel and Appearance

Learn this in-field procedure for determining available soil moisture by look and feel for various soil types common to Nebraska and the importance of knowing soil moisture to irrigation water management.

Lesson Plan PDF and Word  |  Powerpoint | NRCS Guide

Video: Estimating Soil Moisture

Related Resource: UNL NebGuide

Plant & Soil Sciences eLibrary: Soil Water


Soil Quality Measurement

Soil quality integrates the physical, chemical, and biological components of soil and their interactions. These resources examine field site or characterization and soil sampling guidelines.

Lesson Plan PDF and Word  |  Powerpoint

Videos: Soil Sampling & Soil Quality Measurement

NRCS Guide: PDF and Word | Soil Quality Test Bucket Checklist

Plant & Soil Sciences eLibrary: Fundamentals of Soil Testing | Quiz


Soil Bulk Density

Bulk density video
Soil Bulk Density Overview Video
Bulk density overview video
Soil Bulk Density Test Video

Bulk density is an indicator of soil compaction and soil health. It affects infiltration, rooting depth, plant nutrient availability, and soil microrganism activity. Understanding and measuring this soil attribute can guide soil management practices. These resources cover factors affecting bulk density and soil moisture, soil density problems, and how to measure bul.

Lesson Plan: PDF and Word  |  Powerpoint

Videos: OverviewTest

NRCS Guide: PDF and Word

Plant & Soil Sciences eLibrary:

soil sampling
Soil Sampling Video

Soil Respiration

Soil respiration test video
Soil Respiration Test Video
Soil respiration overview
Soil Respiration Overview Video

Soil respiration is a measure of carbon dioxide (CO2) released from the soil when soil organic matter decomposes and when plant roots and soil fauna respire. It is a sign of soil biological activity and an important indicator of soil health.

Lesson Plan: PDF and Word  |  Powerpoint

Videos: Overview | Test

NRCS Guide: PDF and Word


Soil Electrical Conductivity

EC test video
Soil EC Sample Prep
EC probe video
Soil EC Probe Video
Soil EC Overview Video
Soil EC Overview Video
Soil EC Test Video
Soil EC Test Video

Soil electrical conductivity (EC) is a measure of soil salinity and an important indicator of soil health. Excess salts can hinder plant growth, nutrient availability, and other soil processes and affect soil-water balance.

Lesson Plan: PDF and Word  |   Powerpoint

Videos: Overview  |  Test
Soil EC Soil Sample Prep
Soil EC Probe
Test

NRCS Guide: PDF and Word


Soil Web Survey

Lesson Plan: PDF and Word


Soil pH Testing Video
Soil pH Overview Video
Soil pH Overview
Soil pH Test Video

Soil pH

Soil pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a soil. Consider factors that affect soil pH, soil pH management options, the relationship of pH to soil function and measure the pH in soil.

Lesson Plan: PDF and Word  |  Powerpoint

Videos: Overview | Test

NRCS Guide: PDF and Word

Plant & Soil Sciences eLibrary: Soil pH | Quiz



Soil Nitrogen

Soil Nitrogen Testing Video
Soil Nitrogen Testing Video
Soil Nitrogen Overview Video
Soil Nitrogen Overview Video

Nitrogen is the most abundant element in the atmosphere and is usually the most limiting crop nutrient. Investigate factors that affect soil nitrogen, nitrogen management and measure soil nitrate/nitrite.

Lesson Plan: PDF and Word  |  Powerpoint

Videos: Overview | Testing

NRCS Guide: PDF and Word


Soil Phosphorus

Soil Phosphorus Test Video
Soil Phosphorus Test Video
Soil Phosphorus Overview Video
Soil Phosphorus Overview Video

Phosphorus' primary role in a plant is to store and transfer energy produced by photosynthesis for use in growth and reproductive processes. Analyze phosphorus management practices and test soil phosphate.

Lesson Plan:  PDF and Word  |  Powerpoint

Videos: Overview | Test

NRCS Guide:  PDF and Word

Plant & Soil Sciences eLibrary: Phosphorus and Potassium in the Soil


Soil Infiltration

Soil Infiltration Test
Soil Infiltration Test Video
Soil Infiltration Video Overview
Soil Infiltration Overview Video

Infiltration refers to the soil's ability to allow water movement into and through the soil profile. Check into management practices that impact infiltration, problems related to infiltration and measure infiltration in soil.

Lesson Plan: PDF and Word  | Powerpoint

Videos: Overview | Test

NRCS Guide: PDF and Word


The Scientific Method

Lesson Plan: PDF and Word


Soils Capstone Activity

Lesson Plan: PDF and Word


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