Author Archive

From The Ground Up: The Science of Soil Year Two Launch!

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
Today we are launching new activities and features on From the Ground Up: The Science of Soil! Early in 2014, Nutrients for Life Foundation expanded its reach into the digital world through a partnership with Discovery Education, From the Ground Up: The Science of Soil (FTGU).  Together, the two organizations created a microsite with a collection of digital activities, interactive lesson plans, career spotlights and videos all about soil science and crop nutrients. FTGU is designed to extend the success of Nutrients for Life’s Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century curriculum by providing cutting-edge, educational and dynamic multimedia content designed to engage 21st century classrooms. Now in year two, the Foundation is looking ahead and planning a virtual field trip, three new video segments, an interactive digital exploration activity, two additional fertilizer industry career spotlights, and two more at-home family learning activities. Family Activities More than ever, consumers are looking to buy high quality and responsibly sourced food. There has never been a better time to get into agriculture-related fields, but many students and their families are unaware of the myriad careers in this sector, particularly those that relate to science, technology, math, and engineering. This fall, a family activity will introduce students and their families to different career paths related to agriculture and soil science. Students will work with their parents to assess their skills and interests and then match those skills and interests to different career options, such as engineering, fertilizer blending and spraying in the agriculture sector. Another family activity will feature an overview of the ‘farm-to-food’ supply chain. Farmers are the first step in the food chain that feeds the world. Every part of the farm-to-food supply chain requires human and/or natural resources and, when one part of the chain is affected, they are all…

Contest: Racing to Feed the World through Soil Science

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Attention High School Science Teachers: Start Your Engines! Nutrients for Life Foundation has partnered with BRANDT Consolidated - a leading agricultural company that serves growers around the globe –to organize a “Racing to Feed the World” contest for high school students. (more…)

Teacher Retreat Recap: A Meeting of the Minds at the Mine

Monday, July 28th, 2014
With beautiful mountain ranges as a backdrop, eight educators from around the country recently convened at the Simplot Smoky Canyon mine to “talk soil.” Their mission was an important one: guide the development of future education materials for the Nutrients for Life Foundation. (more…)

New Resource: High School Curriculum Update!

Thursday, May 29th, 2014
 Nutrients for Life Foundation Launches New Science Curriculum for High School Students Attention teachers! We are excited to announce the unveiling of the second edition to our Smithsonian-reviewed high school curriculum, Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century. This resource supports our mission to promote soil science in the classroom and teach students about the basic aspects of plant biology as it relates to food production. (more…)

Teachers, Apply To Attend Foundation 2014 Teacher Retreat!

Monday, May 5th, 2014
Every two years, the Foundation gathers some of the best and brightest educators in our network to advise on education resources and materials. This year, the group will meet in Smoky Canyon, Wyoming from July 15-17th to discuss education goals and next steps for the Foundation. The attendees will also tour a phosphate mine, a very rare opportunity! In the past, some amazing ideas have sprung for this meeting, and we hope you will let us know if you are interested below. If chosen, your flights, meals, activities, and accommodations will be taken care of out of appreciation from the Foundation. Loading...   Here are some highlights from the 2012 teacher retreat in North Carolina! Against the calm flow of the Pamlico River, eight educators from around the country convened at the PotashCorp Bath Lodge in Bath, N.C., in July 2012 to “talk soil.” Their mission was an important one: guide the development of future education materials for the Nutrients for Life Foundation. Comprised of elementary to secondary science and agriculture teachers, the small group met to discuss the desired path for future materials and programs for NFL. “This group of diverse teachers examined each component of the Nutrients for Life curriculum and arrived at a 'top ten' list of curriculum additions that they believe would be beneficial to teachers who teach soil science and plant nutrients,” explained Julie McGuire, education specialist for the Foundation. “We want to develop resources and materials that are precisely what teachers will find useful in effectively teaching soil science. To do this, we wanted to hear straight from the teachers.” The list included the development of a new edition of Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century high school curriculum, due out in early summer 2014. Other materials developed based on this meeting included new classroom visuals…

Science Activity: Garden Planning

Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Doesn’t all of the organizing and planning in Tuesday's post sound like a great spatial activity for students? (more…)

Science Activity: NPK Bracelets

Monday, February 17th, 2014
This fun bracelet activity is a great way to introduce the three essential plant nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphate (P) and potassium (K). As students put the various beads together on the bracelet, they will have a better understanding of what plants need to grow. Also, use Nutrients for Life’s free elementary activity book, Fun with the Plant Nutrient Team, to enrich the lesson. If using with the booklet, build the bracelet as students work their way through the book. Interestingly, plants do not technically need soil to grow, as seen with air plants and hydroponic setups, but simply the essential plant nutrients (N-P-K). Grade Levels: 2 to 6 (but we have seen high school teachers adjust this for their classes!) Length: 10 minutes/25 minutes when used with Fun with the Plant Nutrient Team Group size: This activity works well in both small group and large settings Objective: Students will be able to recall what conditions plants needs to grow, such as plant nutrients (in the soil), sunlight, water, and air. Materials needed: (One per student) Note: We purchased individual N, P, and K (9mm) alphabet beads at http://www.namebeads.com. Green chenille sticks (pipe cleaners) or green ribbon Green pony beads Clear pony beads Black or brown pony beads Yellow pony beads Light blue pony beads N, P, K 9mm beads (optional) Purple pony beads Procedure: Place each bead on the chenille stick, while reviewing what each bead represents. (Green chenille stick)—Plants: Farmers grow plants that require nutrients from the soil (Black or brown bead)—Soil: Farmers help to protect the environment by testing their soils to learn if the soil contains the right amount of nutrients. If nutrients are missing, the farmer will add more by adding fertilizer. The three main nutrients needed for the plant to grow are N, P, and K. (N bead - optional) — Nitrogen (Green Bead)—Nitrogen helps the…

New Resource: Potash Video & Potassium Cycle Poster

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
The Nutrients for Life Foundation is proud to provide its latest free education resources: The Potash Mining Video and Potassium Cycle Poster. Every plant needs three basic elements to grow nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Potassium (K) is important to plants because it acts as a regulator. It helps plants efficiently use water, transfer food, and protect against structural stress. If a plant is deficient in potassium, it is much more susceptible to stunted growth and disease. K is found naturally in soil, but sometimes must be replaced, especially after years of growing plants on the same land. So where do we get the K in fertilizer that provides all these great benefits? From mining potash in deposits of ancient evaporated inland oceans. To learn more, watch The Potash Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uujIepkI6Ow   Also, check out our new Potassium Cycle Poster available free through our website. It is so meaningful for science classes to expose students to natural biogeochemical cycles, such as the potassium cycle. Even if students are unable to recall every aspect of the potassium or phosphorus cycle months after your class, the concept of the cyclical nature of earth’s major resources is an essential concept for tomorrow’s generation.   Mineral weathering, plant residues, animal sources, and fertilizers supply K to the plant roots. In some soils, mineral weathering primarily supplies enough potassium to provide sufficient amounts of K, with help from plant residues, biosolids, and animal sources. However, continual use of the soil for crops or gardening can deplete potassium faster than natural weather and other sources can replenish it. Runoff, erosion, plant harvest, and leaching can be causes for potassium loss. In those cases, potassium fertilizer can restore amounts. We hope these new resources invigorate your soil science lessons and are a helpful addition to your classroom! Keep up with the Foundation- Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube 

Smithsonian Exhibit Satisfies Food History Craving

Friday, September 6th, 2013
From the time you step off the curb, you begin experiencing the Smithsonian through their expansive gardens. About 20 Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia recently took a “field trip” to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. (more…)

Julie’s Great Experience at the 4R Retreat

Friday, August 16th, 2013
By Julie Buratowski, Foundation Education Specialist   Last week, I had to opportunity to join some of my colleagues in Ottawa, Canada to attend a 4R Nutrient Stewardship retreat. (more…)

Helping Communities Grow Informational Webinar

Friday, October 5th, 2012
ATTN: FFA Advisors and Chapter Presidents Want to learn more information about Nutrients for Life’s Helping Communities Grow program? Tune in to our informational webinar! Monday, October 22, 2012 Time: 4:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time – OR – Wednesday, October 24, 2012 Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (more…)