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Print and web resources for the American Chemical Society's celebration of Earth Day 2006: Dig It!

Books and Video

Below are selected outstanding and recommended titles, many from the National Science Teachers Association. Descriptions are based in part on reviews from the NSTA web site.

Key: E = Elementary (K-5), I = Intermediate (6-8), HS = High School (9-12), C = College, G = General Public


The Amazing Dirt Book. Paulette Bourgeois, Valerie Wyatt, and Craig Terlson. Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 1990. 80 pp. ISBN 0201550962. (E)
Examines dirt, the life it contains, and its uses, and includes a number of hands on activities.
Dig In!: Hands-On Soil Investigations. National Science Teachers Association. Arlington, Va: NSTA Press, 2001. 129 pp. ISBN 0873551893 (pbk.) LCCN: 00-112121. (E)
Covers soil formation, soil use, and soil conservation topics in twelve activities (NSTA Recommends).
Dirt: The Scoop on Soil. Natalie M. Rosinsky, and Sheree Boyd. (Amazing science). Minneapolis, Minn: Picture Window Books, 2003. 24 pp. ISBN 1404800123. (E)
Short text supports early investigation of soil (NSTA Recommends).
Earthscapes: Landforms Sculpted by Water, Wind, and Ice. Jerry Wermund. Buda, Tex.: Rockon Pub, 2003. 48 pp. ISBN 097262550X. (E, I)
Book of poems about landforms (NSTA Recommends).
Sand and Soil: Earth’s Building Blocks. Beth Gurney. (Rocks, minerals, and resources). New York: Crabtree Pub. Co, 2005. 31 pp. ISBN 0778714179. (I)
Discusses soil, its creation, its inhabitants, and its erosion.
Science Fun with Mud and Dirt. Rose Wyler, and Pat Ronson Stewart. New York: Julian Messner, 1986. 48 pp. ISBN 0671555693. (E)
Experiment-based investigation of soil science.
Soil. Chris Oxlade. (Materials, materials, materials). Chicago, Ill.: Heinemann Library, 2002. 32 pp. ISBN 1588105873. (E)
A simple presentation about soil, including its composition and animals that live in the soil (NSTA Recommends).
Sustaining Our Soils and Society. Thomas W. Loynachan. Washington, DC: American Geological Institute, 1999. 66 pp. ISBN 0922152500. (HS)
Text covers various aspects of soil science, and includes a poster of soil types.
Unearthing Garden Mysteries: Experiments for Kids. Ellen Talmage, and Bruce Curtis. Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum Resources, 2000. 90 pp. ISBN 1555919936. (E)
More than twenty classroom projects allow kids to discover scientific processes of gardening (NSTA Recommends).
The World Beneath Our Feet: A Guide to Life in the Soil. James B. Nardi. Oxford, England; New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 223 pp. ISBN 0195139909. (HS)
Examines over 100 underground organisms, including those in the soil.
Worms Eat My Garbage. Mary Appelhof. Kalamazoo, Mich.: Flower Press, 1997. 162 pp. ISBN 0942256107 (pbk.). (I, HS)
Definitive guide to using worms for composting.
Worms Eat Our Garbage: Classroom Activities for a Better Environment. Mary Appelhof, Mary Frances Fenton, Barbara Loss Harris, and Nancy Kostecke. Kalamazoo, Mich.: Flower Press, 1993. 214 pp. ISBN 0942256050. (I, HS)
Classroom activity guide to accompany “Worms Eat My Garbage.”


How Plants Make Food. Martin J. Gutnik, and Sam Shiromani. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1976. 45 pp. ISBN 051600526X. (I)
Learning about photosynthesis through experimentation.
The Magic School Bus Gets Planted: A Book About Photosynthesis. Lenore Notkin, Bob Ostrom, and Joanna Cole. New York: Scholastic, 1997. pp. ISBN 0590922467. (E)
Class takes magical field trip to learn about photosynthesis. (Available as DVD/VHS video and in Spanish as El autobús mágico se queda plantado: un libro sobre la fotosíntesis).
Photosynthesis. Frank J. Staub. (World of wonder). Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 2004. 32 pp. ISBN 1583412654. (E)
Discusses photosynthesis at a basic level.
Why Plants Are Green Instead of Pink. Julian May, and Phero Thomas. Mankato, Minn.: Creative Educational Society, 1970. 38 pp. ISBN 087191039X. (I)
Describes how plants make their food and stay green.

Nitrogen Cycle

Carbon-Oxygen and Nitrogen Cycles. Rebecca Harman. (Earth’s processes). Chicago: Heinemann Library, 2005. 32 pp. ISBN 140347060X. (E)
Includes sections on the nitrogen cycle and photosynthesis.
The Nitrogen Cycle. Paul Fuqua. Niles, Ill.: United Learning, 1994. Available from: (HS)
Short video (14 min., available on DVD and VHS) which explains the natural nitrogen cycle, with a 10 question video quiz included.

Soil Erosion

Erosion. Rebecca Olien. (The Bridgestone Science Library). Mankato, Minn: Bridgestone Books, 2002. 24 pp. ISBN 0736809503. (E)
Discusses soil erosion and soil conservation (NSTA Recommends).
The Land. Miquel Angel Gilbert. (Our living planet). San Diego, Calif: Blackbirch Press, 2002. 32 pp. ISBN 156711668X. (E)
Text includes section on erosion, and is accompanied by an activity at the end (NSTA Recommends).
Soil Erosion and Pollution. Darlene R. Stille. (A New true book). Chicago: Children's Press, 1990. 44 pp. ISBN 051601188X. (E)
Discusses soil erosion, pollution and its effects.
Weathering & Erosion. John Burrud, Valerie Chow, Brew Horton, Richard D. Soto, Desiree Coleman, and John Quimby. Wynnewood, PA: Schlessinger Media, 2000. Available from: (I)
Short film (23 min., available on DVD and VHS) about erosion of rocks and soil.

Organic Farming

Gives Peas a Chance!: Organic Gardening Cartoon-Science. Peter Barbarow. Happy Camp, CA: Naturegraph Publishers, 1990. 222 pp. ISBN 0879612045. (All levels)
Cartoon presentation of various topics in organic gardening.
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