Bishop Flaget School 5th grade teacher Carrie Hill took her class through the Soy Protein and World Hunger e-learning course. Hill said, “It was a great experience to learn about the many uses for soybeans, the importance of Ohio in feeding our world, and how beneficial soybeans are for both soil and solving world hunger. It was very eye-opening for my students. We live in the land of plenty and it was a great way to teach this information.”
Hill received a greenhouse for her classroom through a GrowNextGen STEM to STEM grant. After dissecting soybean roots, checking for nodules and discussing nitrogen fixing, they planted their own soybeans in the greenhouse. However, not a single one sprouted. Through class discussion and scientific inquiry, the students came up with several possibilities.
First, they dug up their seeds and inspected the soil. Some cups were too wet, others too dry, but some cups seemed to have the correct amount of moisture.
Hill said, ‘After weighing the possibilities, we concluded that the soil was too poor because the topsoil bags had been at the school for several years. What must be done in our classroom, as well as in struggling countries? ENRICH the soil! The soy beans that we dissected at the beginning of year showed why soy is a miracle solution for food shortages—it improves the soil while also providing a good protein source!”
Hill wasn’t deterred by the lack of seed germination. “The failure actually worked out well for us! It led to a deeper understanding of why some countries just can’t feed themselves—the soil isn’t rich enough to grow enough food. Through these activities, we learned about soil enrichment, plus other factors that hinder plant life, such as germination and failure to thrive.