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Going Beneath the Surface: Using Socioscientific Issues to Explore Human Impacts on Soil

The Science Teacher—July/August 2024 (Volume 91, Issue 4)

By Jesse Wilcox, William Lange, Shane Breheny

Socioscientific issues (SSIs) can help students think about the moral and ethical issues related to science. When SSI issues are based on local phenomena and issues within students’ communities, they can also resonate more with students. This article uses the SSI of tilling to help students understand the pros and cons of this farming practice, but also helps us teach some basic soil principles such as light absorption based on soil coverage, permeability in compact vs non-compact soil samples, wind erosion, water erosion, and the concept of buffers (partially addressing HS-ESS3-4 and HS-ESS2-5).

Earth & Space Science Equity Inquiry Interdisciplinary Social Justice High School

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