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Natural Sciences Education Abstract - Notes

Student Presentations of Case Studies to Illustrate Core Concepts in Soil Biogeochemistry


This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 41 No. 1, p. 35-43
    Received: Apr 18, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): owen_duckworth@ncsu.edu
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  1. Owen W. Duckworth * and
  2. James M. Harrington
  1. Department of Soil Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7619. J.M. Harrington, current address: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Exposure Research Laboratory, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711


Soil biogeochemistry, a discipline that explores the chemical speciation and transformations of elements in soils and the relationships between soils and global biogeochemical cycles, is becoming a popular course offering because it unites themes from a number of other courses. In this article, we present a set of case studies that have been used as the basis for student presentations and student-lead discussion. These case studies were specifically chosen because they focus on modern problems that illustrate key concepts in the course material and communicate an issue of significant concern or interest to society. The exercise helps to forge a linkage between the subjects discussed in the course and real-world issues. Presentations were used as a starting point for classroom discussion to encourage active participation on the part of the students. Instructor and student evaluations both indicated that the assignment was valuable as a learning aid to most students, and may have helped to connect course materials to more practical real-world examples.

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