Professional Development

Professional Development

The Biology of Soil


March 2 through May 3, 2020




This is a two-credit online course for teachers, extension personnel, and others who educate youth and adult audiences about soils, science, and agriculture. The course requires a minimum of 30 hours online, plus an additional 60 hours of reading, writing, experimentation, or research/discovery. Through a solutions-oriented approach, course participants will be introduced to the issues of soil health, soil degradation, and soil biomes. The course will look at how organisms in soils including plants, vertebrates, invertebrates, fungi, protis, and bacteria interact. The course will look at how nutrients cycle and at what practices land owners can implement to promote soil biomes and improve soil health. Participants will understand the environmental implications of soil degradation, the economic implications, and the social implications with the goal of understanding how we can sustainably move forward. All class work can be done on participants' home computers or with local field work. Some experimentation activities will require minimal consumable supplies but can be completed safely at participants' home with minimal equipment. There will be extensive online discussion with other educators throughout the course. At the end of the course, participants will receive 13 full lessons including quizzes, worksheets, and PowerPoint presentations, that they can use with their students. By the end of the course, participants will be able to discuss and teach others about soil biology, soil health, and agriculture's role in conservation.

Register to participate:

Graduate credit is available through Drake University, Morningside College, or Grand View University for $260. Licensure renewal credit is available from AEA for $70. Registration can be done online by creating an account in the Professional Learning Registration System. Once an account is created (which could take up to 24 hours), login and search for the course number 182142. Then follow the links to register for the course.