The Soil at Work (AFNR5510)


This is a problem-based applied soil science unit. It is designed to allow students to identify soil-related problems in the real-world and by working in a group and with an end-user to suggest short and long-term solutions to such problems. It utilises and reinforces soil-science knowledge and problem-solving skills gained during the program. This unit will address real-world scenarios which involve soil-related problems such as carbon management, structural decline, acidification, salinisation and contamination. Students will gain some understanding of the concept of sustainability, and will be able to identify the causes of problems by reference to the literature, discussion with landusers and by the design and execution of key experiments and surveys. They will gain a focused knowledge of the key soil drivers to environmental problems and will have some understanding on the constraints surrounding potential solutions. By designing and administering strategies to tackle real-world soil issues students will develop their research and inquiry skills and enhance their intellectual autonomy. By producing reports and seminars that enables understanding by an end-user students will improve the breadth of their communication skills.

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Further unit of study information


Problem-based unit: each student completes 2 problems; 4 x 3 hr workshops per problem (each student attends 8 workshops in total)


For each of two scenarios: Statement of the problem report (2x12.5%) - shared information, two team reports How to tackle problem seminar (2x12.5%) - team seminars, before fieldwork, analyses done Results seminar (2x12.5%) - team seminars Final report (2x


I.W.Heathcote 1997. Environmental Problem Solving: A Case Study Approach. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, USA.

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