XenophonPhoto Credit: Susan ChapmanDaVinciPhoto Credit: Tim McCabe, USDA-NRCS FullerPacific Northwest National Laboratory LeopoldPhoto Credit: David Wright LoganSIMBIOS Centre, Abertay Univ XenophanesPhoto Credit: Donald G. McGahan Photo Credit: Garey Fox Chief SeattlePhoto Credit: SSSA – Soil

Soils Sustain Life

Soil is the reservoir on which most life on earth depends, as the primary source of food, feed, fuel, forage, fiber, and pharmaceuticals.

Soil plays a vital role in sustaining human welfare and assuring future agricultural productivity and environmental stability. The study of soil as a science has provided us with a basic understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological properties and processes essential to such a complex ecosystem.

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a professional scientific society, made up of soil scientists, educators, and consultants focused on promoting soil science, including enhancing soils topics in schools. For more information about us, contact us. SSSA is pleased to provide teachers with these Soil Essentials:

NEW! State Soil Booklets

View an interactive map that features state soil booklets!

International Year of Soils

IYS logoThe Soil Science Society of America is coordinating with the Global Soil Partnership and other organizations around the world to celebrate the 2015 International Year of Soils and raise awareness and promote the sustainability of our limited soil resources. During the International Year of Soils, SSSA will have monthly themes that reflect the diverse value of soils to our natural environment and society. Each month will have information on the theme, a lesson plan, and other outreach activities.

Visit the International Year of Soils page for more information.




As part of our partnership with the National Association of Conservation Districts and the Smithsonian Institution, materials were developed entitled Dig It! The Secrets of Soil. Please visit their education site for additional resources.


Earth Science Week Activity Materials are also available from current and past Earth Science Weeks!


Follow the Lesson Plans and Activities links for more ideas and plans.


Click here for a list of interesting quotes about soil.

Available Resources

Looking for useful tools to assist in the soil education of your class? SSSA has numerous resources to help you talk to students about soils:


Please let us know the grades you teach, how you plan to use the materials, and how many of each item you would like shipped. Requests may be emailed to membership@soils.org. Note that due to limited resources, we may limit quantities.

Know Soil Know Life

New Soils Book Helps Explore the World of Soil

For high school and introductory college students, gain a solid foundation about the world of soils with our newest book - Know Soil Know Life. Visit the Society Store to learn more and purchase your copy today.

For younger students, we also have a  book from the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) digs in the dirt to educate kids about the living world of soil. Soil! Get the Inside Scoop explores how soil is part of our life - the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the houses we live in, and more. Soil! Get the Inside Scoop can be purchased at the SSSA's online store.

We also have an online Teacher's Guide, complete with annotated powerpoints and lesson plans for the Soil's Get the Inside Scoop! kids book


SSSA Members - Interested in volunteering for our Ask a Soil Scientist program? Visit our sign-up page (login required) to register and select your areas of interest/expertise, location, and if you are available for classroom visits in your area. Have questions about K-12 teacher resources? Please Contact Us!