PIEFA Conference

Snooping into Soils, including Soil Selfies, was a workshop at the Primary Industries PIEFA 2016 (002)Education Foundation Australia  Conference, held in May in Canberra, on the theme “Food and Fibre Matters”.  Snooping into Soils” shared soil activities and resources developed in 2015.

The big themes at this conference were increasing the input of Ag Sc in school education, especially as an applied Science/ STEM area of learning and raising awareness of the scope for careers in Ag Sc, which will be part of future food security.

JeannieClarkePIEFA2016004 cropcolSnooping into Soils” preliminary activity – Do soils matter for food and fibre?” survey (ie for Ag Sc  ed?) – was instead of a discussion to allow more time for activities.  This question was given as a survey for participants to consider and respond to. About half of those in the workshop completed this survey.  All 33 survey replies stated YES. Their 30 responses to ‘why soil matters to food and fibre?’ fell into the following groups:

– are the basis of food production                                        10
– give nutrients for food and fibre plants to grow               7
JeannieClarkePIEFA2016011 odd one outcol– provide food and fibre produce for human needs            7
– are the medium for food and fibre plant growth              2
– are the base of environmental health for food and fibre 1
– perform water ecosystem services for food and fibre      1
– takes a long time to form naturally.                                      1
In other words, soils are an integral, but possibly silent, part of Food and Fibre.
Ag Sc education should include Soils.

survey sample
3/4 were teachers, most of the rest were Ag Sc Ed organisers, and a couple were resource developers;
1/2 were from NSW, and the rest from the 5 other states from SA to QLD

magnify my soilMy aims for this Snooping into Soils  workshop were to demonstrate simple and cheap ways to include soils in Food and Fibre Matters by providing :
1 a foundation for soil matters in producing food and fibre
and 2 inspiration to educators to include some soils learning – at all levels of F-Y6 Curriculum – based in AC Science, especially, but as interdisciplinary learning, in aspects of Literacy, Numeracy, Geography, Photographic Art, Communication, and IT.

For a summary of:
the workshop “Snooping into Soils” see this 843Kb FoodnFibreMatters-SnoopingIntoSoilsWorkshop;
the base record sheet (from the “Snooping into Soils” National Science Week suite of soil investigations), see this pdf SnoopingIntoSoilsRecordSheetBase  ;
and links to the PIEFA Conference webpages for the program and the ppts from the conference.

Photos (courtesy of, and with permission to use from, L. Larri ) show the Soil Selfies introduction, Odd One Out challenge and simple magnification to show colour varies with grains.

(cc) 2016 Jeanie Clark, enviroed4all(R)  and L. Larri (photos), Please acknowledge any use of these ideas.

As a freelance environmental educator, my work in creating these activities and this website is UNFUNDED.
Please support me by acknowledging my ideas, sending feedback for how the activities in this website go when you use them, and, if you can, support me with a DONATION, please contact me by email. Thank you.

page updated 9 May  2016