Thursday, September 4, 2014

Worm sightings, books and more!

When I first started this project the first thing I thought I would see (aside from soil) were worms. It's been approximately 7 weeks since this scanner was buried and above is the first decent sighting of a worm! Update: Soil Flatworm! 

Perhaps the scanner isn't in soil conditions worms prefer, maybe the scanner emits something worms don't like. It could be that we're looking at such a small sliver of soil that the the chances of seeing a large portion of any worm is slim (we're only seeing a few millimeters deep). Towards the end of the video you see the worm burrow out of view, and a realization sets in of just how three dimensional soil is that the plant and animal life traverse! Also, more awesome videos showing 3D soil reconstructions.

I finished reading "What a Plant Knows" by Daniel Chamovitz and have just started "Know Soil Know Life" by David Lindbo, Deb Kozlowski, and Clay Robinson. What a Plant Knows has been a wonderful snapshot of our current scientific understanding on the various sensing abilities of plants. Without little to no background in plant biology I found this to be an easy and engaging read. It's fascinating that to a certain extent plants can sense light, smells, touch, and retain and pass on memories.

So far I've only had time to skim through Know Soil Know Life. It contains beautiful color photos, drawings, and graphs in abundance. A welcome change from the previous books I've been reading, and I'm looking forward to actually read it!

Books are such wonderful resources, but I'm curious to know what digital (and not just videos or recreations of books) options there are for teaching something many might consider a fairly mundane subject... ? : )

People generally react to the timelapse videos of soil with a mixture of confused enthusiasm. There's a lot going on below the earth that is difficult to ascertain with a few minutes of reading. And while digging through the soil is highly recommended, it's very difficult to grasp things that often happen in non-human sizes and timescales. I'm fascinated by the reconstructions of soil by Prof. John Crawford, A/Prof. Margaret Barbour, and Prof. Mark Adams, and wonder how they can be used to further engage an earlier interest in something like soil : )

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