Save the Soil!!

A  WebQuest for Grade 4, WebQuest Agricultural Series by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University


You are a soil conservationist.  Farmer Tim has called you to help him save his topsoil.  Farmer Tim has inherited beautiful land that is very hilly and wide open.  He has always wanted to grow crops on his farm but is having a difficult time with soil erosion.  Farmer Tim needs your help in controlling the soil erosion on his farm.  If you are able to help, he will be willing to hire your team for future conservation issues on his farm.  Good Luck!

You will work with your team of conservationists to research possible soil conservation practices, select two possible conservation practices you believe will benefit Farmer Tim, and work with your team to present your possible solutions.

Step 1.   Read what erosion is and why the soil is so important to Farmer Tim as you  fill out the "Interesting Fact" page.

Step 2. You will divide into groups of 4.  This is your "Conservation Team."

Step 3. Each member will then choose 2 of the following soil conservation practices to research and report back to their Conservation Team.  Your job is to learn all you can about these practices and become an "expert" on your conservation practices to teach your original Conservation Team.

Step 4.  In your "Expert Teams" you will research 2 conservation practices and record the definition, benefits, and maintenance of each method.  ** Don't forget to record the internet sites you used for your information!**

Step 5.  Conservation Practices:
                a.  no-till

                b.  crop rotation

                c.  terraces

                d.  grass waterways

                e.  contour farming

                f.  windbreaks

                g.  strip cropping

                h.  cover crop

Step 6:  After you have become an "expert" on 2 conservation practices, return to your original Conservation Teams and teach your team your 2 "expert" practices.   You will then decide as a team which 2 conservation practices will work best, in your opinion, to help Farmer Tim solve his erosion problems.  You will then create a presentation for Farmer Tim convincing him why he should choose your Conservation Team for this job.  Your presentation may be in any format you choose, but MUST include the following:  2 possible conservation practices defined,  the benefits and maintenance of each chosen practice, at least 1 visual image to show what your practice looks like (don't forget to include the source of image!), and the sites you used to help you determine your results. (In case Farmer Tim wants to research a little more on his own!)  **Don't forget to make it neat!  You are trying to sell your Conservation Team to Farmer Tim!

Now that you have researched the dangers of erosion and possible soil conservation practices, you are aware of the importance of protecting Missouri's number one resource, soil.  Farmer Tim believes your team will always take precautions to use the best soil conservation practices.  Way to Go!!!

Rubric for Save the Soil!!!


4 pts.

3 pts.

2 pts.



Interesting Fact Sheet Fact sheet is filled out to the best of students ability and completed on time Fact sheet is filled out to the best of students ability and missing 1 fact and/or late Fact sheet is filled out and missing 2 or 3 facts and/or late Little attempt to fill out fact sheet and/or late No attempt made to complete fact sheet
Expert Recording Sheet Recording sheet is completely filled out, to the best of the student's ability, including the practice, definition, 2 benefits, maintenance, and 2 sources Recording sheet is completely filled out, to the best of the student's ability, but is missing 1 piece of required information. Recording sheet has been filled out, but is missing 2 or 3 pieces of required information Recording sheet has been attempted, but 4 or more pieces of information has been omitted. No attempt was made.
Presentation Presentation is completed containing all requirements: 2 conservation practices included, benefits and maintenance clear, at least 1 image, image cited, other sources cited, and neat. Presentation is completed but missing 1 requirement. Presentation is completed but missing 2 or 3 requirements. Presentation has been made, containing few requirements. No attempt was made.
 Team Cooperation Worked cooperatively with group members and contributed valuable "expert" information. Completed all assignments in a timely manner.  Worked somewhat  cooperatively with group members, contributing valuable information and/or completing most assignments on time. Had trouble with group work at times, and/or contributed little information and/or completed 2 or more assignments late. Little cooperation with group members, contributions were to a minimum and/or assignments late. No attempt was made to work with group, contribute information, or complete assignments.


Photos are from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

This WebQuest was created by teachers participating in Missouri's Agriculture in the Classroom program at Missouri State University through a USDA grant.  The template on this site was adapted from a template from The WebQuest Page and the original was designed by Dr. Lyndon Irwin.  Assistance for this project was provided by Mrs. Barbara Irwin, M.S. and Mrs. Diane Olson, M.S.

Teachers are encouraged to adapt this lesson for classroom use only.  No part of this publication may be transmitted, stored, recorded or published in any form without written permission from Missouri Farm Bureau.

This page was developed by Casey Echelmeier, reviewed by Lyndon and the late Barbara Irwin and is maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau. Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau