The South Dakota Discovery Center offers an array of curricular resources that will engage your learners in inquiry based, hands-on exploration of watersheds and the world at large.

Healthy Soil Curriculum Resources

When we think of health most of us think of human health. The idea that soil can be healthy may sound odd at first--after all, isn't it just dirt--until we begin to understand that soil is a result of complex relationships and interactions between living and non-living things.

We consider soil healthy when the non-living parts are in good working order (like having good structure) and the living parts have access to the right kinds of food and water, and the parts that were formerly living and now are not living (called organic matter) are present and plentiful. When conditions are otherwise, soil starts to become unhealthy.

Science tells us that healthy soils are

  • Full of life
  • High in organic matter
  • Well structured
  • Covered all the time

This set of curricular resources supports educators in meeting standards while teaching the important ideas about healthy soil. Soil makes a compelling phenomena because it's everywhere, all students have some experience with it, and it offers many surprises and mysteries. Where possible, a South Dakota connection was made with the learning.

The development of these curricular resources was supported by a grant from the South Dakota office of the National Resource Conservation Service.


Lesson Plans


Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

Coming October 2019

Sixth Grade

Coming October 2019







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