Little Worlds: The Living Soil

Here is a sample of a combined Checklist and Story page that I might share with youngsters who are learning about the complex vitality of soil. 

The first section could be used to reinforce students’ awareness of  the English names of some of the creatures that they’ve discovered during an enjoyable field trip focused on learning about different kinds of soil (hopefully with ready access to trowels), or time spent digging gently around some big potted plants in the classroom. (The latter was a popular activity for my 1st and 2nd graders in years past, particularly in November when the geraniums had just recently been brought into the art room to escape winter weather, together with a rollicking cohort of isopods, etc.)  Perhaps the worksheet could be handed out following a half-hour spent transplanting newly-rooted cuttings or bulbs into the school garden.  Formal written activities like this add a verbal overlay of knowledge to what was, hopefully, an interesting time spent interacting with the earth’s crust and its denizens.  They serve as an aid to the memory, and provide a way for teachers to assess what students are learning and expressing.

Notice that the second section challenges students’ imagination and their capacity for empathy.   They’re invited to speculate about how a particular soil creature (of their choice) might experience their world.  They’re asked to weave ideas (hopefully enriched and made more granular as a result of recent direct contacts with the soil biome) into an interesting story, crafted with written words and pictures that they can share later with others.   (This procedure aligns well with insights about integrative cognitive processing described very eloquently by Dr. Antonio Damasio  in his recent book The Strange Order of Things.)

Here’s the PDF:  Little World – The Living Soil

Little World - The Living Soil