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AGS 221 Soil Science
Credit Hours:  4
Effective Term: Fall 2015
SUN#:  None
AGEC: Physical and Biological Sciences  
Credit Breakdown: 3 Lectures, 3 Labs
Times for Credit: 1
Grading Option: A/F Only

Description: Fundamental principles of soil science, including the origin, nature and classification of soils; emphasizing the chemical, physical and biological properties in relation to plant growth and nutrition of plants. Also emphasized are non-plant uses of soils and soils in the environment.

Prerequisites: RDG094

Corequisites: None

Recommendations: None

Measurable Student Learning Outcomes
1. (Application Level) Explain the principles of the scientific method in soil science for obtaining results from laboratory experiments.
2. (Comprehension Level) Identify the five key functions of soil in our ecosystem by describing the five soil functions: medium for plant growth, regulator of water supplies, recycler of raw materials, habitat for soil organisms, and engineering medium.
3. (Analysis Level) Identify the five soil forming factors and use them to report on Hans Jenny and the equation describing soil formation to list and describe the seven types of parent material.
4. (Comprehension Level) Discuss the development of the soil classification system, the USDA Soil Taxonomy Key, and soil nomenclature. Identify the twelve soil orders in North America and draw and label examples.
5. (Analysis Level) Relate the influence of the seven physical properties of soil to the functions of soil in the environment by correctly estimating soil color using the Munsell Color Chart, listing the size of mineral particles in a soil sample, determining the soil textural class by the feel method, recognizing the various types of soil structure, calculating bulk densities for various soil samples, describing conventional and conservation tillage methods as they relate to sustainable agricultural systems and listing the engineering uses of soil properties.
6. (Application Level) Apply soil water functions to soil management by defining the properties of water including polarity, hydrogen bonding, cohesion, adhesion and surface tension, phenomenon of capillarity and capillary action, draw and label the Hydrologic cycle and identify the role of soil in the cycle.
7. (Analysis Level) Recognize the nature and properties of soil colloids by defining the four soil colloidal properties including size, surface area, surface charge and absorption of cations and water, describe humus colloids, describe the process of cation exchange in agricultural soils and relate cation exchange capacity to nutrient availability in soils.
8. (Analysis Level) Determine the influence of soil pH on soil management by testing various soil samples for pH values and analyzing those values for crop production.
9. (Evaluation Level) Identify the properties of alkaline and salt affected soils of arid regions by calculating electroconductivity for various soil samples, use this data to list plants with relative tolerance to salt-affected soils and their economic impact on the regions in which they are grown, compare and contrast between the various methods for managing saline, sodic, and saline-sodic soils.
10. (Analysis Level) Recognize the importance to ecology of soil organisms as they relate to the natural environment by drawing and labeling the Carbon Cycle, drawing and labeling a typical soil ecosystem including primary producer, primary consumers and secondary consumers and identifying soil micro, meso, and macro animals and their function in the soil ecosystem. Include the significance of soil micorrhizae and the beneficial effects of soil organisms as a recycler of raw material in the biosphere.
11. (Comprehension Level) Explain the role of nutrients in crop production by drawing and labeling the Nitrogen Cycle and describe various Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium deficiencies in plants.
12. (Analysis Level) Recognize the goals of responsible and practical nutrient management in the biosphere by relating methods and timing of fertilizer applications to crops and landscaping.
13. (Evaluation Level) Associate soil erosion with land degradation by reporting on Hugh Hammond Bennett and the founding of the Natural Resource Conservation Service, identify the mechanics of water erosion and wind erosion, calculate and apply the Universal Soil Loss Equation to various soil erosion models and explain the benefits of conservation tillage practices in sustainable agricultural systems.
14. (Application Level) Apply County Soil Survey Data to the practical use of soil science principals by utilizing a County Soil Survey to determine various properties of soils in Pinal County.
Internal/External Standards Accreditation