A lively trip through the nitrogen cycle

Where do YOU go for great lesson plans? Jason Board, a teacher at the STEAMM Academy @ Hartford, part of the Ohio STEM Learning Network, attended the Ohio Soybean Council-sponsored Tech in Ag workshop this summer. That’s where he experienced this very active version of the nitrogen cycle. This lesson is part of the Soil section of our curriculum unit Smart Farming, a comprehensive look at how farmers use data to make decisions.

Recently, Board taught this in his mixed 7th and 8th grade agriculture class. Board said, “We have been taking soil samples from around the school and discussing NPK and how it affects plants. We made compost bins in the courtyard so I tied those into the discussion.”

“It was neat how most of the students ended up “stuck” at the plant,” Board said. “It led perfectly into a discussion as to why we started the compost piles at the beginning of the year to get that nitrogen back. Using water as an Uber worked well—they understood that analogy!”

Board said, “One of my more challenging students really got into being a bacteria! He was reading the prompt on the back of his card in different accents.” Everyone loves active learning!