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3rd Grade Teachers Integrate Science and ELA in Implementing GLOBE Soils Module

Third grade teachers across the division used the GLOBE Soils Module to introduce their students to soils in a multidisciplinary and hands-on manner. GLOBE, or Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, is an international program developed to build understanding of Earth Systems and the environment.  

Teachers were trained on the GLOBE Soil Module on March 29 and used the GLOBE storybook The Scoop on Soils in small groups during English Language Arts (ELA) classes to introduce the unit. The storybook also served as the vehicle for the development of vocabulary through the understanding of suffixes, comprehension of nonfiction texts, and comparing and contrasting settings, characters, and plot events. 

Zandria Butts of Phenix PreK-8 School said, “The students were able to use literacy skills to understand the content. They also enjoyed reading about the layers of soil.” 

Marcella Oliver from Asbury Elementary School reported that the storybook “was … a favorite. Many students read the book multiple times during their independent reading time.” 

In science, students completed two hands-on experiences. As a part of the Getting to Know Soil activity, students made observations of silt, sand, and clay soil samples. They then collected their own soil samples, placed them in a clear plastic bottle with water, and recorded observations as the soil settled out into different layers. 

“Students loved getting their hands dirty while they felt the different types of soil and had great discussions while they thought about the different components that identify the three types of soil,” shared Winta Michaels from Phillips Elementary School.  

Melani Thomas at Mary Jackson Elementary School echoed these sentiments, “Students were able to actively engage in sifting and exploring the soil which was FUN! They really enjoyed trying to identify the different soil particles and searching for organic and inorganic matter (especially bugs).” Students also learned about the importance of soil in the activity We All Need Soil and made connections between how animals and plants depend on soil.  

Katie Thurston from Barron Elementary School summed it up, “Students had a high level of engagement due to the hands-on activities. They love to play in the soil at recess, so this helped them understand all the components of it. Now they pick out different types of soil and love to share and tell me all about it. I think when students engage in written and hands-on activities for units like this, they remember the information better.”  

Elementary GLOBE is supported by NASA, NOAA, and the National Science Foundation.  Teachers implemented the GLOBE Earth Science Module in the fall.