The Land Management module, “Can we feed the growing population?” consists of six activities to be implemented over approximately six 45-minute class periods. The module uses real-world data and computer-based models to help students explore the factors that contribute to soil quality and crop growth. By the end of the module, students will be able to describe the factors that lead to good agricultural production.

Below describes an overview of the sequence of activities:

 

Activity 1: Constructing an Argument: Land Management

Students will learn how to create a good scientific argument in the context of land management. They will learn to develop scientific arguments through a series of questions that ask them to make a claim, explain their answer, rate their certainty with their answer, and explain that rating. 

Activity 2: Using the Land

Students explore data showing how humans have changed Earth's land. They examine maps showing the distribution of suitable agricultural land and investigate the effect of human development on agricultural lands. 

Activity 3: Preserving Soils

Students explore a map showing cropland density around the world. They discover how soil is formed and explore how plants get nutrients from topsoil. Finally, they use interactive computational models to explore how wind, water, and plants affect soil quality.

Activity 4: Climate and Crop Growth

Students explore climate graphs and an interactive computational model to discover the role of temperature and precipitation on the growth of crops. They examine how the extremes of precipitation (drought and flood) affect plant growth and they use maps of average precipitation and temperature to predict which area will be best suited for agricultural production.

Activity 5: Soil Quality

Students explore the conditions that make high-quality soils. Using data from field research and interactive computational models, they determine which farming practices best preserve and increase soil quality.

Activity 6: Best Practices

Students explore the reasons for increased agricultural production and make predictions about future agricultural production. They examine data and investigate field research that is attempting to increase plants' yields without chemical or biological interventions. Students propose land management strategies for different fields.

 

Accessing the Module

1.  Go to learn.concord.org/has-land for the interactive Teacher Edition of the Land Management module and other teacher resources. You will need to have a teacher account to access the teacher materials. Registration is free.

2.  Set up a class on the Concord Consortium Learn portal (learn.concord.org/has-land). Assign the Land Management module.

3.  Have your students register for student accounts on the Learn portal. Students will join your class with the “class word” you selected.

4.  Use the embedded teaching tips and discussion tips in the Teacher Edition to help facilitate your students’ investigations in the Land Management module.

 

Informal Assessment 

The Land Management module includes pre- and post-assessments. Use these to assess your students’ understanding of land management science. In addition, you can use the real-time Class Dashboard to track students’ progress through the module and give students feedback on their responses.

Use the embedded argumentation items to assess your students’ understanding of topics in land management science. Rubrics are available to registered teachers at learn.concord.org/has-land.

 

  Funded by the National Science Foundation

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-0929774 and DRL-1220756. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.