Pennsylvania State University
SOILS 101 - Introductory Soils
SOILS 101 (GN) Introductory Soils (3 credits). A study of soil properties and processes and relationships to land use, plant growth, environmental quality, and society. Overview:
This survey and foundational course introduces students to a broad range of subject matter from most sub-disciplines of soil science. The students study a range of soil characteristics and seek to understand their relationship to soil function, land use, plant growth, environmental quality, and society/culture. This course introduces students to the variety and complexity of soils on a local, national, and international scale. This introductory course in soil science introduces the student to the study, management, and conservation of soils as natural bodies, as media for plant growth, and as components of the larger ecosystem. This course presents basic concepts of all aspects of soil science including: composition and genesis; physical, chemical, and biological properties; soil water; classification and mapping; soil conservation; management practices; and soil fertility and productivity including practices of soil testing, use of fertilizers and manures, and liming. The course introduces the relationships of soil to current concerns such as environmental quality and non-agricultural land use. This course should instill awareness of soil as a basic natural resource, the use or abuse of which has a considerable influence on human society and life in general.
This course is required or on a list from which students select for many environmental and agriculturalrelated majors. It is specifically listed as a prerequisite for many other SOILS courses and for several soils-related courses taught at Penn State. This course also satisfies the requirement for 3-credits in the natural sciences (GN), for non-science maojors or any student interested in soils, ecology, or the environment.
At the end of this course, students should be able to:
Appreciate the variety and complexity of soils.
Describe the ways in which soils are an integral component of the terrestrial ecosystem. Use the technical terminology associated with the description and use of soils. Identify soil properties important to land use, environmental quality, plant growth and society/culture.
Demonstrate skills required to make field observations and interpretations of soils for various uses.
Retrieve and use information from a variety of sources for land use planning and soil management decisions.
Explain the impact of land use and management decisions on agricultural productivity and sustainability, environmental and ecological health, and land degradation. Understand how soils can affect everyday decisions like how to develop a garden or where to build a house.
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Dr. Mike Fidanza
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9:00 am - 9:50 am, and 11:00 am - 11:50 am; or, by appointment (call or e-mail to schedule an appointment)
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 125 Luerssen Building, 10:00 am - 10:50 am.
Brady, N.C. and R.R. Weil. Elements of the Nature and Properties of Soils. 3rd edition*. Pearson/Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. *or earlier editions are acceptable
4 exams ……………………….……………..………………… 300 points • lowest exam score dropped
• 3 exams X 100 points per exam = 300 points total
15 quizzes ……………………...……………………………… 150 points • 15 quizzes X 10 points per quiz = 150 points total
Soils Writing Assignment .……………………...……………… 50 points • Fertilizer Worksheet
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Total ….. 500 points Final Grade will be based on the following...
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