SCIENCE OF GOLF: Golf Course Agronomy - STEM Lesson Plan (Grades 4-12) Print

Objective:

Students identify and solve problems related to growing turf grasses on a golf course by working through an engineering design process. Students build on what they know to synthesize science, technology, engineering design, and math concepts related to plant growth and apply their understanding to other curricular areas.


Introduction Notes:

Science OF GOLF: Golf Course Agronomy

STEM Lesson Plan / Adaptable for Grades 4–12

Lesson plans produced by the National Science Teachers Association.

Video produced by NBC Learn in collaboration with the USGA and Chevron.

 

Background and Planning Information................................................................................................................................... 2

About the Video.......................................................................................................................................................................... 2

Video Timeline ............................................................................................................................................................................ 2

Language Support ...................................................................................................................................................................... 2

Next Generation Science Standards...................................................................................................................................... 18

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts/Literacy................................................................................. 18

 

Promote STEM with Video....................................................................................................................................................... 2

Connect to Science..................................................................................................................................................................... 2

Connect to Technology.............................................................................................................................................................. 3

Connect to Engineering............................................................................................................................................................. 4

Connect to Math......................................................................................................................................................................... 5

 

Facilitate ENGINEERING DESIGN Inquiry................................................................................................................................ 6

Explore Understanding.............................................................................................................................................................. 6

Identify Problems........................................................................................................................................................................ 6

Investigate Design Problems..................................................................................................................................................... 7

Materials and the Inquiry Process................................................................................................................... 7

Open Choice Approach..................................................................................................................................... 7

Focused Approach.............................................................................................................................................. 8

Media Research Option................................................................................................................................... 10

Related Internet Resources............................................................................................................ 10

Make a Claim Backed by Evidence......................................................................................................................................... 11

Present and Compare Findings.............................................................................................................................................. 11

Reflect and Redesign............................................................................................................................................................... 11

Inquiry Assessment.................................................................................................................................................................. 11

 

Incorporate Video into Your Lesson Plan............................................................................................................................ 12

Integrate Video in Instruction................................................................................................................................................. 12

Bellringer........................................................................................................................................................... 12

Compare and Contrast..................................................................................................................................... 12

Homework......................................................................................................................................................... 12

Using the 5E Approach.................................................................................................................................... 12

Connect to Social Studies........................................................................................................................................................ 12

Connect to Economics............................................................................................................................................................. 12

Use Video as a Writing Prompt............................................................................................................................................... 13

 

Copy Masters ........................................................................................................................................................................... 14

Open Choice SCIENCE Inquiry Guide for Students.............................................................................................................. 14

Focused SCIENCE Inquiry Guide for Students...................................................................................................................... 15

Assessment Rubric for Inquiry Investigations...................................................................................................................... 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  About the Video

Science of Golf (SOG): Golf Course Agronomy discusses turfgrass as a plant that requires sunlight, carbon dioxide, water, and nutrients to survive, just as any plant does. Turfgrass has a very specific function to perform, however, and this video describes a number of ways that turfgrass agronomers use science and technology to monitor, sample, and treat turfgrass soil to develop an optimal playing surface for golfers. This video features Jim Moore and Kimberly Erusha of the United States Golf Association (USGA) Greens Section and John Jeffreys, assistant superintendent at Pinehurst Resort, site of the 2014 men’s and women’s U. S. Open Golf Tournaments.

 

 Video Timeline

0:00     0:16     Series opening

0:17     1:00     The role of agronomy in keeping turfgrass healthy

1:01     1:18     Turfgrass choice affects the inputs needed

1:19     1:58     Photosynthetic and nutrient needs of turfgrass

1:59     2:32     Testing the soil and adjusting nutrient levels

2:33     3:09     Soil profiling and detecting layers of organic material in the soil

3:10     4:06     Soil compaction and aeration of the golf course soil and why it is important

4:07     4:35     Contribution of agronomy to aesthetic value of golf courses

4:36     4:51     Closing credits

 

 Language Support: To aid those with limited English proficiency or others who need help focusing on the video, click the Transcript tab on the right side of the video window, then copy and paste the text into a document for student reference.

 

Standards Connections for NGSS and Common Core ELA

Connected standards are listed in full on the last page of this document.

 

 

 Connect to Science

Science concepts described in this video are related to ecology, plant physiology, and soil science. Turfgrass is described as a plant that needs water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide to grow just as any photosynthetic plant does. Because of the special stresses and conditions to which turfgrass is subjected, it also requires supplemental nutrients. The video describes the growth and decay of the plant and how organic matter in the soil limits the amount of air and water the plant can receive. It also discusses the proper selection of a turfgrass plant for the ecology of its environment, to limit the amount of water that might need to be applied. Finally, the video discusses the role of sampling and measurement in determining the right amount of nutrients, water, and aeration a turfgrass plant requires and what course of treatment will allow the plant to thrive.

 

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Related Science Concepts

         photosynthesis

         water cycle

         plant adaptations

         plant physiology

         measurement

 

Take Action with Students

         Play the segment from 1:01 to 1:58, which describes the role of turfgrass choice on the resources required to maintain it. Turfgrass selection is determined, in great part, by the ecology of the golf course environment, including its temperature and the amount of precipitation it receives. Have students consider the ecology of their location and read the USGA’s guidance on turfgrass selection, found online at https://www.usga.org/news/2012/February/Course-Care--Selecting-The-Right-Grass/ Have them work together in small groups to decide what type or types of turfgrass would be the best selections for their environment. Students should support their choices with evidence from the article, linking turfgrass to environment.

         Measurement is an important part of any scientific investigation, including the ones described here, which informs decisions on how to help turfgrass thrive. Have students watch the segment from 1:59 to 4:06 that describes data collection and how it informs turfgrass management. As a class, have students discuss all of the characteristics they can think of that would indicate the health of the turfgrass and the soil. Have students describe how each characteristic might be measured and finally, what the measurement might tell them. To help organize students’ thinking, create a table on the board, with columns for characteristic, measurement, and description of information related to measurement. This activity could also be done on an individual basis if that best meets the needs of your students.

         Use reports from USGA-sponsored research to show students how STEM subjects underpin studies on a topic such as water conservation. You can find them at USGA’s Turfgrass and Environmental Research Online at http://usgatero.msu.edu/tero_browse.html. While there you might browse through to find one that particularly interests you or is more suitable to your local area. The report titled “Water-use efficiency and carbon sequestration influenced by turfgrass species and management practices” is typical of the reports you will find. Project them for the class or direct small groups to choose reports and give short presentations to the class on their ideas about how the data justify their conclusions and the implications they might have gleaned for non-golf course plants in their local area.

 

 Connect to Technology

The video highlights technology used to minimize the amount of resources used to keep the golf course turfgrass healthy. Instrumentation is used to collect turfgrass samples, the samples are analyzed in a laboratory to determine the characteristics of the soil, and technology facilitates the action taken to adjust parameters for optimal turfgrass health.

 

 

 

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Take Action with Students

         In SOG: Golf Course Agronomy, the technology used to measure and treat golf course turfgrass is not the central storyline, however, technology is important to each part of the process. Have students watch the video and identify each instance in which technology helps agronomists do their job. Examples include the tools they use to sample the soil, the laboratory where sample are sent to be analyzed, tools used to aerate the soil, the fertilizers applied to turfgrass to help it grow. Engage students in a discussion of the alternatives to technology in each case. How might agronomists do their job if the technological tools used in each case were not available? How might agronomists be helpful in other areas?

         Have students with home irrigation systems find out more about how they work and what features they have to conserve water. For example, some systems have built-in moisture sensors so that the sprinkler doesn’t operate when it is raining and so on. This topic can also be researched on the Internet. Then students could compare and contrast a home system with that on the scale needed to irrigate a golf course that might cover, on average, a range from 110 to 190 acres. Students can find specifics on certain golf courses at the website of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (www.gcsaa.org).

 

 Connect to Engineering

The engineering design process uses human ingenuity to draw from science, math, and technology to solve a problem. In this case, the problem was excessive water use and potential overuse of nutrients. Scientists and managers used technology and their understanding of how plants use water and how water moves around in the environment to design irrigation systems that used less water, while making the most out of the water that is used by collecting it and delivering it to the right places.

 

Take Action with Students

         Some golf courses have to address water scarcity problems. Have students think of other places where water scarcity or water waste might be an issue. Ask them to consider the technological tools and other methods described in the video and think about how they might be used to address water issues in other places. Examples might include agricultural operations such as farms or drinking water or landscaping needs in arid environments. How can the methods applied to golf courses be leveraged in these environments as well? How might adjacent pieces of land with different uses have to compete for water? Have students devise a plan for water management in the type of environment they choose.

         After students watch the video, have them consider the criteria agronomists have for the health of their turfgrass. These criteria might be related to the characteristics they wish to see, like amount of moisture in the soil, amount of air in the soil, color of the grass, the length of the grass, how quickly the grass has to replace itself, or the composition of the soil. For each of the criteria listed, have students describe the constraints that they have to work within to be successful. Examples might include the amount of money they can spend, the species of grass they have to work with, the length of the growing season, or the type of soil present in their environment.

 

 

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Connect toMath

While the video discusses in greater detail the technology involved in determining the amount of irrigation water that is applied to golf course turfgrass, math calculations underlie the technology that delivers the data. Irrigation water is determined by measuring the amount of water coming into the system and the amount of water going out of the system, and comparing those amounts to the amount of water required by the system. Scientists and managers can use these numbers even without the technology to calculate how much water to apply.

 

Take Action with Students

Students might calculate costs involved in irrigation of a large expanse of turfgrass, such as a one-acre golf course fairway or huge lawn using data such as that in the following tables, which represent College Station, Texas. Have students make comparisons between water use by warm season grasses and cool season grasses.

1.      Guide them to calculate the total annual water deficit for each type of grass, or the amount of water, in inches, that needs to be made up, based on how much rainwater is lost to evapotranspiration and runoff, using an equation such as the following:

 

Water deficit (in.) = Evapotranspiration – (Rainfall – Runoff)

 

COOL SEASON GRASSES

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Annual total

Evapotranspiration (in.)

3.0

3.0

4.5

6.0

7.0

7.0

7.0

7.0

6.0

6.0

4.5

3.0

 

Rainfall (in.)

3.0

3.2

2.7

4.0

4.2

3.3

2.7

2.5

3.0

2.7

3.3

3.5

 

Runoff (in.)

.75

.8

.67

1.0

1.0

.82

.67

.62

.75

.67

.82

.87

 

Water Deficit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WARM SEASON GRASSES

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Annual total

Evapotranspiration (in.)

2.0

2.5

4.0

5.0

6.5

6.5

6.5

6.5

6.0

5.0

4.0

2.5

 

Rainfall (in.)

3.0

3.2

2.7

4.0

4.2

3.3

2.7

2.5

3.0

2.7

3.3

3.5

 

Runoff (in.)

.75

.8

.67

1.0

1.0

.82

.67

.62

.75

.67

.82

.87

 

Water Deficit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.      Students could then calculate the water requirement, in inches, and convert it to gallons using the equations and information below. This is the amount of water that will be applied through irrigation.

 

Water requirement (in.) = .70 (Water deficit)

 

Water requirement (gal.) = Water requirement (in.) x number of acres x 27,152 gal / inch-acre

 

3.      Students could finally calculate the cost of irrigation for each type of grass, based on the cost of water in your local area. (Reference: Aggie Horticulture—Water Management on Turfgrasses

 http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons./turf/publications/water.html)

 

 

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Encourage inquiry using a strategy modeled on the research-based science writing heuristic. Student work will vary in complexity and depth depending on grade level, prior knowledge, and creativity. Use the prompts liberally to encourage thought and discussion. Student Copy Masters begin on page 14.

 

 Explore Understanding

In SOG: Golf Course Agronomy, students learn about the composition of soil and how it is related to how much water and air are retained in the soil. Fine particles retain more water and nutrients, but limit the amount of air that that plant roots are exposed to. Both are essential components for healthy turfgrass. Prior to watching the video, present students with two jars full of soil that you have collected from locations with different soil characteristics. You can amend the soil with layers of gravel or sand. You can mix it all together or layer it by particle size. Guide a discussion using the jars of soil to find out what students know about how particle size is related to how much water and air are retained in the soil. Use this discussion as a springboard for discussing how agronomists can design soil composition to achieve certain criteria for healthy turfgrass. Use the following or similar prompts to start students talking.

         One experience I have had with soil is….

         I think soil particles are related to air and water in the soil because….

         I think soil is….

         I think turfgrass would grow better in soil that is...because....

         Soil composition is important to a golf course, because….

 

Show SOG: Golf Course Agronomy and encourage students to take notes while they watch about the analyses that are performed and adjustments that are made to turfgrass soil to ensure maximum health of the turf grass. Continue the discussion of how a design team might improve turfgrass health using the following or similar prompts:

         When I watched the video, I thought about….

         We learned from the video that….

         Some types of technology used to conserve water on golf courses are….

         The agronomists can help golfers by....

         Some factors controlling the composition of the soil are....

         One problem the agronomists are trying to solve is….

         The experts in the video explained that….

         Variables influencing the potential solutions include….

         Our efforts might be limited by.…

         Engineering has improved soil composition and turfgrass health by….

 

 Identify Problems

Stimulate small-group discussion with the prompt: This video makes me think about these problems…. Then have small groups list questions they have about improving soil composition and turfgrass health. Ask groups to choose one question and phrase it in such a way as to reflect an engineering problem that is researchable and/or testable. Bring groups together to discuss/share their problems. Remind students that engineering problems usually have multiple solutions. Some example questions that reflect engineering design problems are:

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         What factors can be changed that might improve turfgrass growth?

         How does an environment’s climate limit the types of turfgrass that can be used?

         Would increasing/reducing the particle size of the soil improve the amount of water retained?

         What is the ideal soil composition to maximize both water and air retention?

         What is the quickest way to measure soil aeration on site?

         What turfgrass mixtures will ensure a green playing surface for the largest range of temperature?

 

 Investigate Design Problems

Choose one of the following options based on your students’ knowledge, creativity, and ability level and your available materials. Actual materials needed would vary greatly based on these factors as well.

 

 Materialsand the Inquiry Process

Allow time for students to examine and manipulate the materials that are available. Doing so often aids students in refining their questions or prompts new ones that should be recorded for future investigation.

         To explore water retention and aeration related to particle size: Students might use tin pans (different sizes), plastic cups or bowls, clay, potting soil, gravel, mulch, and fine wire mesh.

         Measuring tools such as meter sticks, stopwatches, measuring cups, electronic balances, spring scales, smart phone video cameras, graduated cylinders, rulers, or measuring tape as well as calculators might also be useful in the design process.

 

Safety Considerations: You and students should wear cover goggles. Review safe use of tools and measurement devices as needed. Augment your own safety procedures with NSTA’s Safety Portal at http://www.nsta.org/portals/safety.aspx.

 

Open Choice Approach(Copy Master page 14)

1.      Give students time to discuss their various questions. In light of the Golf Course Agronomy video, groups might agree on one problem for which they will design a solution, or each group might evaluate different problems and solutions. Some ideas include creating a strategy to deal with areas of the golf course that receives heavy wear, designing a way to optimize divot recovery (See Related Internet Resources) based on the turfgrass found at the local golf course, or do research into accepted golf course practices that limit the amount of wear fairways and greens receive and suggest innovations. To help students envision their investigations, use prompts such as the following:

         The design problem we are solving is….

         Materials we could use to implement our design are….

         The science concepts involved in our design include….

         The math concepts involved in our design include….

         We are designing a solution that will….

         Barriers to success that we anticipate are….

         Acceptable evidence for a successful solution would include….

 

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2.      Lead discussionsto establish the criteria and constraints within which solutions might be designed. Remind students that criteria are factors by which they can judge the success of their effort and that constraints are limitations to the effort and are often related to materials, time, or money.

         We think we can solve the problem by....

         Our criteria for success are…and we will determine them by....

         Constraints that might limit potential solutions are....

3.      Have students determine the dependent variable they will use to evaluate their design. Check the students' understanding of each variable, such as volume of water retained, amount of air that can flow through the soil, or the impact of types of spikes that golfers are allowedto use on their golf shoes. To do this, have students determine other variables associated with the problem they are trying to solve. Then have them determine what data/evidence they need to collect to evaluate the success of their design.

4.      Students should brainstorm a plan for their evidence collection. Work with students to develop safe procedures that control variables and enable them to make accurate measurements. Insist that they get your approval on their procedures before they start any investigation. Encourage students with prompts such as the following:

         Information we need to understand before we can start our investigation is....

         We will change soil composition to....

         We will test our prototype or model by….

         We will make design decisions, or changes to the independent variable, such as … to observe what happens to the dependent variable.

         The data we will collect are….

         We will record and organize our data using….

5.      Allow students to spend some time working with the materials they have decided to use to implement their design. As students work with the materials, suggest that they reexamine their problem(s) and write down the procedures they intend to follow and how they will test their design and collect the data necessary to revise their design. Collecting evidence to promote future iterations and innovations is a critical step in the engineering design cycle. Guide students with prompts such as the following.

         Information we need to understand before designing our soil profile includes….

         We will construct our prototype or model by….

         While constructing our prototype or model we will….

         To conduct our investigation safely, we will….

         We consider future innovation by….

         We will represent our data by….

         Mathematical models we can use in our investigation include….

6.      Be sure to work with students to develop safe procedures that keep the variables not being tested constant, allowing them to make accurate measurements.

7.      After communicating information to the class about their solution and reflecting on their own solution, as well as those of other groups, allow the class or small groups to go through a redesign process to optimize their solutions and what they have learned.

 

 Focused Approach(Copy Master pages 15–16)

The following exemplifies one way students might design solutions to the problem of creating

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the optimal amount of air and water in turfgrass soil. Give students leeway in determining exactly how they will build and test their soil profile designs, but insist that they get your approval on their procedures before they start any investigation. You might include constraints for issues of safety, time, or materials.

 

1.      Give students time to discuss their selected problem(s). Allow time for groups to examine all of the materials available to them. Guide whole-class or small-group discussions to identify the problem being solved and then to identify criteria and constraints against which solutions will be developed. For example, students might wish to maximize the amount of water and air retained in a soil mixture they develop, but might be limited by the cost or type of material available to them to design their mixture. Remind students that criteria are factors by which they can judge the success of their effort and that constraints are limitations to the effort and are often related to materials, time, or money. Use prompts such as the following:

         The problem we are solving is….

         We are designing a solution that will….

         The science concepts that we will need to use in creating our design include….

         We think we can solve the problem by....

         Our criteria for success are....

         Constraints that might limit potential solutions are....

         We will make a model of soil composition found on a golf course to....

         Acceptable evidence that would support our claims of success for our design includes….

2.      Encourage students to think about how they can design a soil profile considering the variables of water infiltration and retention and volume of air in the soil. Guide the class to establish criteria and constraints for the solution to the problem. Remind students that criteria are factors by which they can judge the success of their effort and that constraints are limitations to the effort and are often related to materials, time, or money. Use prompts such as the following:

         The problem we are solving is....

         Factors influencing the retention of air in the soil include….

         Factors influencing the retention of water in the soil include….

         We can build a model soil profile using….

         Constraints we must deal with include….

         We’re not going to use _____ because we think it/they will….

         We think our design will increase the retention of air and water because....

         The soil profile we have designed is similar to an actual soil profile, because…

         Constraints that might limit the range of potential solutions are….

3.      Students should brainstorm a plan for their evidence collection strategy prior to designing their soil profiles. Provide students with the following prompts to guide how they will collect evidence for evaluating their design:

         We will test our design by….

         We will change the soil profile composition in the following ways to see the relationship to the dependent variable….

         The data (dependent variable) we will collect are….

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         We will record and organize our data using….

         We will use evidence such as _____ to determine the need for additional changes such as…

4.      Students plan and design soil composition from the materials at hand. Students might design soil composition from sand, clay, gravel, mulch, and larger rock pieces. The soil column can be constructed on top of a wire mesh, so that water might still be able to run through. Water retention might be tested by pouring a known volume through the column and measuring the amount that filters through in a pre-determined period of time. Encourage multiple trials of water running through the soil. The amount of water added and the time that is given to run through should remain constant. Air content can be tested by first measuring the volume of the soil and filling the column of soil with a known volume of water, then measuring the combined volume after the soil and water have settled together. The combined volume can be measured and subtracted from the original volumes of the soil and water added together to determine the volume of the air that was filled up by water. This is the soil air volume. The idea behind designing the soil composition to achieve both targets is that different soil characteristics serve each, water retention and air content, but in reality, both are important and agronomists have to test and design to maximize both.

5.      After communicating information to the class about their solution and reflecting on their own solution as well as those of other groups, allow the class or small groups to go through a redesign process to improve their solutions.

 Media Research Option

Common Core State Standards Connections: ELA/Literacy –

RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions

WHST.6-8.1 Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

WHST.6-8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.

WHST.6-8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

 

Groups might have questions that are best explored using print media and online resources. Students should brainstorm to form a list of key words and phrases they could use in Internet search engines that might result in resources that will help them answer the question. Review how to safely browse the Web, how to evaluate information on the Internet for accuracy, and how to correctly cite the information found. Suggest students make note of any interesting tangents they find in their research effort for future inquiry. Encourage students with prompts such as the following:

         Words and phrases associated with our question are….

         The reliability of our sources was established by….

         The science and math concepts that underpin a possible solution are….

         Our research might feed into an engineering design solution such as….

         To conduct the investigation safely, we will….

 

Related Internet Resources

         USGA, Soil Fertility and Turfgrass Nutrition 101: http://www.usga.org/Content.aspx?id=26211

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         Penn State’s Athletic Turfgrass Program and Injury Prevention: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jDJAAVCpJQ

         Purdue Turfgrass Identification: http://www.agry.purdue.edu/TURF/tool/index.html

         Optimizing Divot Recovery: http://www2.gcsaa.org/gcm/2005/oct/pdfs/schmitz_82-86_oct.pdf ; http://arkansasagnews.uark.edu/579-33.pdf

 

 Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

As students carry out their design investigations, ensure they record their observations and measurements. Students should analyze their observations in order to state one or more claims. Encourage students with this prompt: As evidenced by… I claim… because…. or I claim our design (was/was not) successful because….

 

An example claim might be:

As evidenced bythe amount of water retained in a sample while still maintaining sufficient air volume, I claim a soil profile of decreasing particle size as you move deeper in the column is best because the soil profiles with varying particle sizes retain enough water, while still having enough air space for roots to grow.

 

 Present and Compare Findings

Encourage students to prepare presentations that outline their inquiry investigations so they can compare results with others. Students might do a Gallery Walk through the presentations and write peer reviews, as would be done on published science and engineering findings. Students might also make comparisons with material they find on the Internet, information presented in the video, or an expert they chose to interview. Remind students to credit their original sources in their comparisons. Elicit comparisons from students with prompts such as:

         My findings are similar to (or different from) those of the experts in the video in that….

         My findings are similar to (or different from) those of my classmates in that….

         My findings are similar to (or different from) those that I found on the Internet in that….

 

Students might make comparisons like the following:

My results were similar to other students in that they also found that there was more water retained with small particle sizes.

 

 Reflect and Redesign

Students should reflect on their understanding, thinking about how their ideas have changed or what they know now that they didn’t before. They should also evaluate their own designs in light of others’ presentations and propose changes that will optimize their designs. Encourage reflection, using prompts such as the following:

         My ideas have changed from the beginning of this lesson because evidence showed that….

         My design would be more effective if I _____ because I learned that….

         My ideas changed in the following ways….

         When thinking about the claims made by the experts, I am confused about....

 

 Inquiry Assessment

See the rubric included in the student Copy Masters on page 17.

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 Integrate Video in Instruction

         Bellringer: Show SOG: Golf Course Agronomy, focusing on the portion of the video from 2:27 to 2:53 that discusses the high-tech sensors employed by golf course managers to monitor water needs. Have students list any parameters sensors might measure that would be useful in determining how much water to apply to a golf course fairway, determining what type of turfgrass to use, or in determining how to maintain ponds or lakes for water retention. Some might be discussed in the video already, but based on what students might know about precipitation, salinity, evaporation, and the water cycle, can they come up with parameters that are not mentioned?

         Compare and Contrast:In SOG: Golf Course Agronomy, the agronomists discuss a few types of soil sampling. One is described as taking several samples from golf course locations and mixing them together to send to a laboratory for testing. Another sampling method involves removing a core of soil without mixing. Have students compare and contrast these two methods, focusing on how each sampling method tells us something different about the soil. What can each do that the other cannot, and why are they both important?

         Homework: Have students find out what turfgrass varieties are used in their area, both for playing surfaces and for residential surfaces. Then, go to the Purdue Agronomy website for turfgrass identification, http://www.agry.purdue.edu/TURF/tool/index.html. Have students describe, based on the information they learn about the turfgrasses common to their area, why the turfgrass used is appropriate for their part of the world.

 

 Using the 5E Approach?

If you use a 5E approach to lesson plans, consider incorporating video in these Es:

         Explore: Use the Design Investigations section of the Facilitate Inquiry to support your lessons on soil science and ecosystem health. Main concepts should include how diverse soils create environments that allow plants to thrive in a particular environment.

         Elaborate: Show students SOG: Golf Course Agronomy, focusing on minutes 1:19 to 1:58, where photosynthesis and plants’ nutrient needs are discussed. Students can use the video as a springboard to learn more about the nutrients that plants need and what role each nutrient plays in the plant’s health.  

 

 Connect to … Social Studies

Soil health is an important issue in many areas of the world where water availability and soil fertility are both at risk. Soil health is not just a concern for recreational use, as is the case on golf courses, but also for agriculture, where food production is a concern. In addition to watching the video, have students research other soil issues around the world. They should choose one they find interesting. Have students suggest how the soil analysis strategies described in the video might be put to work for the soil issue they identify.

 

 Connect to … Economics

The USGA article, “Building and Maintaining the Truly Affordable Golf Course,” found at http://www.usga.org/course_care/articles/construction/general/Building-And-Maintaining-The-Truly-Affordable-Golf-Course/ describes several strategies for maintaining a golf course on

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a budget. After watching the video and reading the article, encourage students to create a cost-benefit table similar to the one below to summarize their understanding of various strategies. Students can describe general costs and benefits, as in the example provided, or, if they would like to take a closer look, they can conduct research online to associate monetary costs and benefits for each strategy.

 

Strategy

Costs

Benefits

Retention ponds installed on golf course

-construction costs for digging, lining, turf removal

-maintenance cost for cleanliness, appearance

-water bill savings for using retained water

-potential increased clientele for aesthetic improvements

-aesthetic value for players

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Use Video as a Writing Prompt

Explain to students that they will use information from SOG: Golf Course Agronomy to explain how the science of golf course agronomy is necessary to providing the right resources for optimal plant health. Show the video twice and use it as background for students to write a few paragraphs describing the a day in the life of the golf course agronomist, including what he or she does, why he or she does it, and what the outcome is for the health of the golf course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Science of Golf: Golf Course Agronomy

Use this as a guide to design and test your solution according to criteria and constraints established by the class. Record all of your notes and observations in your science notebook.

 

Identify Problems

Our class discussion and the video make me think about problems such as….

 

Design Investigations

Choose your materials and brainstorm with your teammates to discuss how you will make and test your solution. Take notes on your discussions. Use these prompts to help you:

         The materials we will use include….

         Our criteria for success are….

         Acceptable evidence for a successful solution would include….

         The constraints within which we will work are….

         We will record and organize our data using….

         To conduct our investigation safely, we will….

 

Test Your Model

Record and organize your data and observations from your tests using tables and/or graphs.

 

Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

Analyze your results and make one or more claims based on the evidence your data shows. Make sure that the claim goes beyond summarizing the relationship between the variables.

 

My Evidence

My Claim

My Reason

 

 

 

 

 

Present and Compare Findings

Listen to presentations of other groups and create a peer review as scientists do for one another. You might also compare your findings with those of experts in the video or that you have access to, or material on the Internet. How do your findings compare? Be sure to give credit to others when you use their findings in your comparisons.

         My findings are similar to (or different from) the experts in the video in that….

         My findings are similar to (or different from) my classmates in that….

         My findings are similar to (or different from) what I found on the Internet in that….

 

Reflect and Redesign

Think about what you learned. How does it change your thinking? Your design?

         I claim that my ideas have changed from the beginning of this lesson in that….

         My design would be more effective if I _____ because I learned that….

         When thinking about the claims made by the experts, I am confused about....

         One part of the investigation I am most proud of is….

         In redesigning, innovations we incorporated included….

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Science of Golf: Golf Course Agronomy

Use this as a guide to design solutions to the problem of creating the optimal amount of air and water in turfgrass soil according to criteria and constraints established by the class. Record all of your notes and observations in your science notebook.

 

Ask Beginning Questions

How does golf course agronomy benefit the health of the golf course turfgrass?

 

Identify Problems

         What factors can be changed that might improve turfgrass growth?

         How does an environment’s climate limit the types of turfgrass that can be used?

         Would increasing/reducing the particle size of the soil improve the amount of water retained?

         What is the ideal soil composition to maximize both water and air retention?

         What is the quickest way to measure soil aeration on site?

         What turfgrass mixtures will ensure a green playing surface for the largest range of temperatures?

 

Design Investigations

Discuss with your group how you might test soil water retention and air composition. Use these prompts to help you.

         The problem we are solving is….

         We are designing a solution that will….

         The science concepts that we will need to use in creating our design include….

         We think we can solve the problem by....

         Our criteria for success are....

         Constraints that might limit potential solutions are....

         We will make a model of soil composition found on a golf course to....

         Acceptable evidence that would support our claims of success for our design includes….

 

Test Your Model

Record and organize your observations and data in tables such as the one below. In the “Design Changes/Trial #” column describe the changes you made to the soil composition that were intended to maximize air and water composition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Design Iteration

Describe Changes/Trial #

Amount of water retained in soil column

Volume of air in sample

1

 

 

 

 

Trial 1

 

 

 

Trial 2

 

 

 

Trial 3

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

Trial 1

 

 

 

Trial 2

 

 

 

Trial 3

 

 

 

Ideas for Analyzing Data

         Describe how the changes you made to soil composition impacted the amount of water and air retained in the sample.

         Describe how your data helped you make decisions to change your soil composition.

         What changes made the greatest impact on air and water composition?

 

Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

Analyze your data and then make one or more claims based on the evidence your data shows. Make sure that the claim goes beyond summarizing the relationship between the variables.

 

 

My Evidence

My Claim

My Reason

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present and Compare Findings

Listen to presentations of other groups and create a peer review as scientists do for one another. You might also compare your findings with those of experts in the video or that you have access to, or material on the Internet. How do your findings compare? Be sure to give credit to others when you use their findings in your comparisons.

         My findings are similar to (or different from) those of the experts in the video in that….

         My findings are similar to (or different from) those of my classmates in that….

         My findings are similar to (or different from) information I found on the Internet in that….

 

Reflect and Redesign

Think about what you learned. How does it change your thinking? Your design?

         I claim that my ideas have changed from the beginning of this lesson in that….

         My design would be more effective if I _____ because I learned that….

         When thinking about the claims made by the expert, I am confused about....

         One part of the investigation I am most proud of is….

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Criteria

1 point

2 points

3 points

Initial problem

Problem had too simple of a solution, was off topic, or otherwise was not researchable or testable.

Problem was researchable or testable but too broad or not answerable by the chosen investigation.

Problem was clearly stated, was researchable or testable, and showed direct relationship to investigation.

Investigation design

The design of the investigation did not support a response to the initial question or provide a solution to the problem.

While the design supported the initial problem, the procedure used to collect data (e.g., number of trials, or control of variables) was insufficient.

Variables were clearly identified and controlled as needed with steps and trials that resulted in data that could be used to answer the question or solve the problem.

Variables (if applicable)

Either the dependent or independent variable was not identified.

While the dependent and independent variables were identified, no controls were present.

Variables identified and controlled in a way that resulting data can be analyzed and compared.

Safety procedures

Basic laboratory safety procedures were followed, but practices specific to the activity were not identified.

Some, but not all, of the safety equipment was used and only some safe practices needed for this investigation were followed.

Appropriate safety equipment used and safe practices adhered to.

Data and Analysis (based on iterations)

Observations were not made or recorded, and data are unreasonable in nature, or do not reflect what actually took place during the investigation.

Observations were made, but were not very detailed, or data appear invalid or were not recorded appropriately.

Detailed observations were made and properly recorded and data are plausible and recorded appropriately.

Claim

No claim was made or the claim had no relationship to the evidence used to support it.

Claim was marginally related to evidence from investigation.

Claim was backed by investigative or research evidence.

Findings comparison

Comparison of findings was limited to a description of the initial problem.

Comparison of findings was not supported by the data collected.

Comparison of findings included both methodology and data collected by at least one other entity.

Reflection

Student reflection was limited to a description of the procedure used.

Student reflections were not related to the initial problem.

Student reflections described at least one impact on thinking.

 

 

 

 

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Science OF GOLF: Golf Course Agronomy

Standards Connections

 

 Next Generation Science Standards

The following inquiry investigations might be part of a summative assessment for these performance expectations. See NGSS documents for additional related Common Core State Standards for ELA/Literacy and Mathematics.

 

Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

MS-LS2-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

 

Engineering Design

MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.

MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

HS-ETS1-1.Analyze a major global challengeto specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.

 

 

 Common Core State Standards Connections: ELA/Literacy

RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions

RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

WHST.6-8.1 Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content

WHST.6-8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.

WHST.6-8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

 

 

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