Madhu's friend Aparna from GKVK is willing to come and do a soil testing exercise with kids before we sow Ragi. Reena and Sreeja will get homemade compost and leaf litter to add to the soil and we will test again after a month.
So, what is soil testing and why should we do it? How can kids do this, learn, and have fun at the same time? Friends are helping out with different suggestions. Indira pitched in with resources around Soil that she has already tried out with Poorna kids before.
A lazy internet search informed me that in 2007, Bangalore commissioned three hi-tech mobile soil testing laboratories to help farmers test their soil.
If kids learn these simple tests well can they go around Poorna testing farmer's lands for free? Or perhaps they can be paid soil testers- charging a nominal fee to recover the cost of these kits? Who knows?
What is that wonderful quote by George Bernard Shaw?
You see things; and you say 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?'
Here are a few teachers' resources shared by folks around soil testing with kids:
1. Soil Science Society of America
2. The Compost Gardener
3. Let’s explore plants and soils : a curriculum resource / Nova Scotia. Department of Education.
4. NCERT's Handbook of Environmental Education Activities, Developed by Centre for Environmental Education