How does the soil in a present day cranberry bog act like a code to tell us about the past?
In this lesson, students will examine models of core samples of soil. They go beneath the surface of the cranberry bog and find out about the various soil layers that support the cranberry vines. These models will help them learn about the unique geographical and historical conditions that led to the success of cranberry cultivation. They will explore how geology and human agricultural practices led to the present day cultivation of cranberries. In doing so, students learn the basics of a cranberry bog’s structure. They also expand their appreciation that land, plants, and people interact in this system.
Although this lesson could easily be adapted as a hands-on experience for students, it is presented here as a demonstration, in order to simplify your implementation. You will present models of core samples from three different locations and introduce students to the main challenge of this lesson: to study the core samples and identify which core represents a sample from a cranberry bog. To support their work, students will view a movie presentation, which will provide them with information about the geological and social history of the bog land and construct a timeline to summarize this history. Because this history correlates to the events that led to the soil deposits in a bog, students will be able to use the timeline to meet the challenge. Comparing each model core sample, students will determine which one corresponds to the model of the bog.