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Listed under:  Science  >  Earth and space  >  Earth structure  >  Earth's crust  >  Soil
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Investigating the soil food web

Soil is much more than just dirt. In this activity, learners will be conducting an investigation to see which animals and other organisms are recycling nutrients in the garden. These organisms make up the soil food web, which includes microscopic bacteria, fungi, minute creatures such as springtails, worms, pill-bugs and ...

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Soil – more than just dirt!

Explore different soil textures and discover their various properties. Through simple soil testing, children will learn to appreciate the true value soils have in helping plants grow. The learning outcomes of this activity are for children to: - understand how soil texture influences the amount of water and air it holds - ...

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Vegetables Victoria: soil health

This video of 6.5 minutes includes interviews with vegetable growers who have been in the industry for a long time, talking about the development of fertiliser practices from collecting manures and spreading them by hand to the use of chemical fertilisers. The farmers talk about the extra benefits of manures for soil health ...

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Automated soil moisture sensor

The soil moisture sensor project integrates science understandings and computational thinking to solve a problem about sustainable watering practices. This lesson was devised by Trudy Ward, Clarendon Vale Primary School, Tasmania.

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Creating compost

Compost is created when organic materials such as twigs, leaves, dry grass and kitchen food scraps break down. Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of landfill that is produced, and also provides soil full of good nutrients that can be used on the garden. OUTCOMES of this learning activity are for students to: ...

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Catalyst: Water through cracked soil

Watch scientists investigate water movement through soil that has been cracked by drought. Australian scientists demonstrate a new way to investigate how water moves through the cracks using electrical probes to measure soil moisture at different soil depths. This technology could help farmers more efficiently irrigate ...

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Saving our Soils

This is a unit of work about the characteristics of soil and the important role soil plays in supporting life on Earth. The unit is divided into seven activity sequences that explore the definition of soil; the characteristics of soil types; the effects of soil nutrients on plant growth; and the role of ground cover in ...

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Making a small wicking bed

Making and planting a small wicking bed is a fulfilling activity. It upcycles materials, building awareness of waste and reuse. The completed wicking bed can suit small spaces – such as a balcony – demonstrating that even small spaces can be used to produce food. Its small size allows children to take ownership of its maintenance. ...

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Cracked soils

This brief video segment from Catalyst demonstrates how scientists have developed probes to measure the water content of soils and therefore monitor the effectiveness of irrigation and the efficiency of water usage.

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Making a difference: development for a better future

This series of project-based resources use real world contemporary contexts to highlight opportunities and challenges in international food and nutrition security, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Resources focus on international agricultural practices and Australia's role as a member of the global community. The ...

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BTN: Food wastage

Do you know how much food industrialised nations, including Australia, throw away every year? Global population is set to reach over nine billion by 2050 which will increase demand for food by 70%. What do you think we can do to consume food more responsibly and sustainably? How might we re-direct food that would otherwise ...

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Catalyst: Would you eat insects?

A lot of resources go into the production of beef. For example, 20 litres of water is needed to produce just 1 gram of beef. In order to produce food more sustainably to feed an ever-growing population, some alternatives to protein have been suggested. What are some of these alternatives? Do you think they will ever replace meat?

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Catalyst: Growing avocados

Demand for certain kinds of food changes with time as people's tastes change. Avocados were not always popular, but in recent years their popularity has increased so much that supply cannot keep up with demand. Learn how stem cell scientists at the University of Queensland are leading the way in research that could cut ...

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Catalyst: What are modular farms?

Modular farms are flexible and self-contained systems that allow you to grow herbs and vegetables without the need for soil or sunlight. What are some advantages of modular farms? What may be some of the disadvantages?

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Foreign Correspondent: Ethiopia's nomadic pastoralists doing it tough

In 2008, Ethiopia's famines just keep coming, fuelled by prolonged periods of drought, rising food prices and an increasing population. Listen to aid worker Valerie Browning in a program aired that year, as she describes how nomadic pastoralists living in the remote regions of Afar try to survive and make their livelihood ...

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Catalyst: Sustainable fish farming

There are already more people around the world who eat farmed fish than people who eat beef. With the world's population and demand for food increasing, why is it so important for us to farm sustainably? One fishery near Kakadu in the Northern Territory practises sustainable farming. Find out what makes this farm so sustainable.

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Landline: Feeding the hungry in Timor-Leste

It is often hard for a developing country to grow enough food to feed its population. In this clip you'll see the challenges encountered by the growing nation of Timor-Leste (East Timor). Listen to an AusAID organiser and the East Timorese president describe the importance of food, and the heartbreak of a hungry nation.

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Forest learning: forest types

This resource is a ten-page pdf produced by Forest and Wood Products Australia providing basic information on the differences between plantation and natural forests. It also includes sections on: native forests; plantations; foresters; forest types; and forest structure. The resource includes: an outline of a class activity ...

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Science for a hungry world

How vital is water to food production? What would happen if we ran out of readily available water? This is a real possibility for some countries that rely heavily on groundwater to grow crops and sustain local population. By observing the gravity of the Earth, NASA satellites have been able to track the changes in the amount ...

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Biodiversity: protecting the environment

This study guide examines the complexity and importance of maintaining a vibrant and healthy farming environment including management of the biodiversity that pasture, livestock and natural fauna and flora. A range of articles and activities explore the challenges and opportunities that cattle and sheep farmers are embracing ...