Resources for Schools

Below is a list of educational resources providing information about different soil threats.  Links are provided to websites and details provided of the soil threat covered and a summary of the resources available.   This list will be regularly updated.  

Further information on education materials currently available at the European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) can be found here

Existing Educational Resources        

WebsiteSoil Threats CoveredResources Available
Soil Net - UK Erosion
• Desertification
• Acid rain
• Fertilisers
• Pollutants
• Deforestation
• Impacts on biodiversity
• Climate change
• Salinisation
• Loss of organic matter
• Compaction
• Building on soil
Ages 7 - 11 – interactive explanations and games about soil in general

Ages 12 - 16 – definition of threats, causes, consequences, mitigation, short quizzes

Eco-lifestyle quiz. Interactive 'Terrain Builder' to show effect of erosion. Photo library.

Activity sheets (general)
Fact sheets (soil components and types)
Work sheets
Colouring sheets
Introductory topic sheets
Puzzle sheets
Soil type maps

Virtual Soil Science Learning Resources (VSSLR) (En)   Multi-media educational materials on soil that address 4 topics: basic soil science principles; soil classification; land-use impacts on soil quality; and raising awareness about soil as an important natural resource
Dig It!  (En) (It) (Es) (Fr) (Zh) (Ar) (Ru) 

Educational booklets about soil for children ages 5 to 13 produced by the FAO. An educator's guide is also available for teachers.
British Society for Soil Science  (En)

• Urban encroachment
• Salinisation
• Compaction
• Pollutants


Ages 12 - 16 – One leaflet/poster covering 5 threats

Leaflets/posters covering how soils work, soils of Britain, climate change, archaeology and ecosystem services

Activities: building a wormery, soil texturing
Soilscapes Interactive map of soils in England and Wales

Shows drainage, fertility status and carbon storage
UK Soil Observatory  

A starting point for information relating to UK soil. Numerous resources provided for schools in addition to extensive soil datasets.

Stem Learning - Rocks and Soils  Various Produced by Hamilton Trust, a variety of resources that offer teachers eight lessons plans on the topics of ‘rocks and soils’
Teaching Soil [multi-lingual]  (En) (De) (Ro) (Hu) (Fr) (Es)

• Pollutants
• Loss of organic matter
• Impacts on biodiversity

Module guide and teaching methodology

Recommended classroom activities and experiments with accompanying worksheets

Environment Agency Austria   (En) (De) (It) (Cz) (Pl) (Sk)


Sealing/land take
• Flooding
• Soil functions

Posters - on land take and flooding and basic information such as the soil functions

A booklet containing teaching materials on land-take and soil sealing for Ages 12 - 16

Languages: Posters  - available in 29 languages of the EU

UNESCO • Desertification In depth teaching resource on desertification. For primary age and targeted at inhabitants of dry climates.
AFP News Agency
Causes of Flooding
• Flooding Two minute YouTube film explaining the causes of flooding utilising diagrams
Herriot-Watt University • Flooding A film explaining urban flooding
Soil Science Society of America

• Erosion


• Loss of organic matter

Loss of soil biodiversity

Ages: Kindergarten to 11. Lesson plans, soil songs, other school resources, interactive display

Ages 12 - 16. Lesson plans, soil surveys, soil urban issues, soil biology, soil quality, soil risks and hazards

College level: soil surveys, world soils, soil urban issues, soil biology, soil quality, soil risks and hazards, videos and webinars, on-the-job training modules

Languages availabe: EN

United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (Soils)

• Pollutants
• Compaction
• Impacts on biodiversity
• Pollutants
• Loss of organic matter

US Goverment site containing extensive information relating to soils. School and education resources available at numerous levels of education:

Up to year 6
Year 7 to 12

There are also numerous other publications and resources available
Dirt Doctor Website   Educational material aimed at raising general awareness of the importance of soils to society using novel techniques such as cartoon characters and humour to represent different soils.
Just for Kids  • Soil biodiversity  Educational materials focused on soil biodiversity.  Facts, photos and activities
Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe - Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resource Links to a variety of teaching materials about soil. Most of the resources contain basic soil information as well as curriculum-based worksheets, which allow teachers to choose different topics against problem, school type, age group and educational concept.
El Suelo, Epidermis viva de la Tierra (The soil, Earth's living skin) (Es, En)   Interactive e-learning resources providing detailed information about soils.  Suitable for secondary and higher education
Soils Challenge Badge (En)

• Contamination

• Compaction


 Loss of organic matter

Booklet with activities to learn about soils, how it is formed, the creatures that live in it and how important it is in our daily lives.
TES Various Formerly Times Education Supplement collates numerous resources for teachers covering rocks and soils

Unterwegs, Baukulturkompass (On The Move) (De)

5.-13. Grade, Extracurricular Youth Education

Pick up Nr. 15 - Boden (Pick up Nr. 15 –on the ground) (De)

5.-13. Grade, Extracurricular Youth Education (Soil journey) (De) (Fr) (It) 

1.-4. Grade, 5.-13. Grade

Bodenwelten (Soil world) (De)

1.-4. Grade, 5.-13. Grade


5.-13. Grade, Adult education / teacher training

LehrerInnenheft "Wir begreifen Boden" (Lesson plan - We know about soil) (De)

5.-8 Grade

Ausstellung "Ich steh auf Boden" (Exhibition - I like soil) (De)

5.-13. Grade, Adult education / teacher training

LebensRäume 1 Handreichung für den Lern- und Erfahrungsbereich Raum (Lesson plan - space) (De)

1.-4. Grade

Online Bodenquiz (Online soil quiz) (De)

9.-13. Grade

Online Bodenquiz (Online soil quiz) (De)

1.-4. Grade, Kindergarten, PreSchool

Boden im Unterricht: Projekt Hypersoil (Soil in education) (De)

1.-13. Grade

Aktionsmobil „Boden kreativ" (Soil - creative) (De)

9.-13. Grade

BODEN will LEBEN! (Soil wants to live) (De)

1.-13. Grade

Unterrichts Hilfen für die Grundschule zum Thema Umwelt 2. Baustein: Boden (Teaching material - soil) (De)

5.-8 Grade
From the Ground up Various A variety of teacher and family resources to inform students and children about soil. Includes six lesson plans. US based.
Doctor Dirt Various A range of teaching resources from aptronymic US based Dr. Clay Robinson 
Nature Works Everywhere Various Resources for students grade 3 – 12. US based with films, lesson plans and handouts.
Joint Research Centre (European Commission) Various Collation of Europe focussed resources that are available at the European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC)
ScienceNet Links Erosion Soil erosion lesson plan
Ecoliteracy and Whole Kids Various 'Starting with Soil' app for smartphones
Soil Experiments for Children (EN) Various A variety of experiments available in English & Spanish


Issue42 soil FrontCover

RECARE resource: learning about soil structure (also available in Chinese)


Below are links to a number of interesting awareness-raising and educational films on soil degradation and soil threats.

 Link  Description
RECARE project - Soil Erosion in Spain (Es, En, De) This film is set in the orange orchards of southern Spain and highlights the degrading impact that modern farming practices are having on soils.
RECARE project - Flooding in Norway (No, En, De) This 10 minute film set in Norway highlights the increasing challenges faced by farmers from increased flooding as a result of changes to the climate.
RECARE project - Soil Pollution in Romania (Ro, En) This 9 minute film describes the impact of soil pollution from a local factory on people's lives in Romania, how they live with this threat and what the RECARE project is trying to do to help them.
English - Let's Talk About Soil
Duetsche - Let's Talk About Soil
Francais - Let's Talk About Soil
Español - Let's Talk About Soil
Hellenic sub-titles - Let's Talk About Soil
Let's Talk About Soil - This 5 minute animated film tells the reality of soil resources around the world, covering the issues of degradation, urbanization, land grabbing and overexploitation; the film offers options to make the way we manage our soils more sustainable. 
 Dirt! The Movie A 2009 American documentary that takes a humorous and substantial look into the history and current state of the living organic matter that we come from and will later return to.

"Soil at risk" - Soil protection in Stuttgart (En)

Soil at risk" - Soil protection in Stuttgart (De - at bottom of page)

A 12 minutes film about soil sealing and soil protection in urban areas. High quality soils are endangered by ongoing settlement activities in and around the cities in Europe. The quantity of soil consumption and soil sealing need to be reduced and a sustainable use of soil considering its quality has to be implemented in the urban planning processes.
Soil sealing - Destroying earth's living skin (En)  An 8 minute film about the threat of soil sealing in Europe.
Costing the Earth: the Threat to Europe's Soils (En)  An 8 minute film about soil contanimination and other soil threats in Europe
International Year of Soils 2015 film (En)  Short promotional film about the International Year of Soil 2015 and the importance of our soils.

Symphony of the Soil (En)

Subtitle options: Spanish, French, Chinese, German, Italian, Portuguese

A documentary exploring soil. By understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of soil. The film also examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil's key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental issues of our time.   Dvd available for purchase

Don't Treat it Like Dirt (En)

Fun 4 minute YouTube clip produced by Panorama High School Students in the USA telling us not to treat soil like dirt.

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)  (En)

A set of 12 short videos for the International Year of Soil 2015, each centered around a monthly soil related theme.

Film The Value of Soil (EN)

Short 4 minute film on the importance of the economics of Land Degradation.  The film depicts the value of soil in providing ecosystem services and highlights the current rapid depletion of this valuable non-renewable resource.

Film "Ich steh auf Boden" (I like soil) (De)

Approx 20 minute film using simple imagery to show the formation of soil, soil as a habitat, and the importance of soil for water retention and food production. 

Wissenswertes aus Bad Neubau (News from Bad Neubau) (De)

Short video looking at the impact of overuse of land. 

Fußabdrücke (Footprints) (De) (En)

A film about how the soil can impact livelihoods due to the natural resources and raw materials it provides. It also explores the mark humans leave on the landscape. 

Built to last new urbanism and the environment (En)

Built to Last examines the impact of our built environment on the natural environment.

Bodenentstehung (Soil formation) (De)

A 2 minute video on the formation of soil. 
Was ist Boden (What is soil) (De) A short video introducing the key attributes of soil, accompanied by some interesting facts. 
Rettet Pulgarn (Save Pulgarn) (De) 10 minute report on the issues over land use in the Austrian Town of Pulgarn.
British Society of Soil YouTube channel for BSS with multiple films
North Dakota State University - Soil Health YouTube channel for NDSU with multiple films covering issues such as soil health, soil threats, soil management and crop selection.
Agriculture and agri-food Canada YouTube channel for Canadian Government Department with several videos on soil and its relation to agriculture.
FAO of the United Nations

YouTube channel of the FAO of the UN has numerous films related to soil, covering topics such as status of world’s soils and soil biodiversity.

Turning Soils Into Sponges YouTube film from Union of Concerned Scientists - Agricultural scientist Dr. Andrea Basche shows how farmers can reduce the impacts of floods and droughts by building healthier, more sponge-like soils.
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Numerous YouTube films related to soil. A variety of languages, including En, De, Pt, Es & It.