Forestry for Kids: Learning Soil thermodynamics in outdoor education

Thermodynamics is a topic of study in sciences which lays its foundation in the middle year education program in most of the national or international curriculums. Thermodynamics is the scientific study of the relations between heat and other forms of energy. In simple words, thermodynamics is the dynamics of the heat energy. Educators and students use ample platforms and resources to understand the topic, which also involves learning fun through fun videos and experiments. But it is an extensive topic and often the learning seems monotonous alongside classroom demonstrations. In this context, integrating the topic of thermodynamics along with outdoor education has far reaching implications. Practical and hands-on observation of thermodynamics i.e. heat transfer and heat exchange offers an experience in its own.

© Soil temperature measurement

In an attempt to integrate outdoor education with the learning of thermodynamics, the students participated in an experiment where they recorded soil temperature under different soil ecology. The study was conducted in the month of May in the hillside of Landour, Mussoorie. The students recorded soil temperature with the help of laboratory soil thermometers to find soil temperature variation at 5cm, 10 cm and 20 cm depth during nature walks. Following is the bar graph of temperature variation under different soil ecology in the hillside of Landour, Mussoorie.

There is ample scope of study of forest soil and preliminary soil temperature study is only one aspect. In an attempt to understand the topic of thermodynamics the students of middle years ventured outdoors to record soil temperatures. The soil temperature is a crucial factor to estimate soil microbial activity, plant as well as soil health also interrelation with various aspects of ecology and environment.

© Students recording soil temperature

I am not sure whether this study has been done before at middle year education program integration with outdoor education or not. Even though the students variations in soil temperature, the analysis of the data is far away from the clear picture because these experiments need recording data throughout the year. So, the present activity is a simple demonstration with which the science unit of Fire and Ice can be correlated with soil thermodynamics.

© Children recording field data

There are numerous other experiments which can be done to correlate Science units with Outdoor Education. We are all aware of the importance of nature based education in the overall well being of the child and in this regard integration of outdoor education with the basic curriculum has far reaching implications. If you want to know about the methodology, field tables or any other topics based on the topic, please feel free to contact me.


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Published by Dr. Chandrima Debi

Hi, I am Chandrima Debi. I am a Doctorate in Forestry and an independent researcher. Ever since childhood, I experienced deep-rooted connection with nature, forest and wildlife. I have written various research articles, case studies based on geology, forests, medicinal plants, biodiversity and conservation. Through this blog I share my experiences with nature and forests around us and aid towards the protection and conservation of biodiversity, wildlife and the values associated.

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