Program details


The United Nations estimate the world population will increase by 35% by 2050. In order to ensure food security for a human population of 9.1 billion, world food production must increase by 70%. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) currently estimate that 95% of our food comes from soil, but that one third of global soils are significantly underproductive due to degradation.

We are dependent on soil for food and fibre production, supporting plant and animal life, and providing a foundation for infrastructure. As a highly important and essentially non-renewable resource our soil needs to be healthy if plants are to grow strong and productive.

Soil Science covers the scientific disciplines of physics, biology, chemistry, geology, ecology and mathematics. Evaluating the capabilities and limitations of different soil types, gauging soil biological activity and assessing the availability of water and nutrients within soil is essential to establishing a healthy balanced agriculturally productive soil. By integrating soil science into land, food and ecosystem management we can better plan our future food production and security.

Students will learn about healthy soil balance through collecting soil samples, carrying out laboratory tests and interpreting the results to develop soil and land management recommendations to optimise growing conditions and crop yields.

Learning program overview

This applied program will utilise the partner schools landscape with students collecting soil samples and analysing them in the Ballarat Tech School Soil Laboratory. We will equip students with the knowledge, skills and test results to be able to recommend appropriate basic soil additives and/or remedial action to begin creating healthy balanced soils.

Students will take on the role of field and laboratory soil scientists by collecting, evaluating and testing soil samples. They will apply critical thinking skills to develop a soil management plan that can be actioned on returning to their home or school.

  • Engage: Understand the link between healthy soil balance and world food security
  • Define: Explain the aspects of a healthy balanced soil: physical, biological and chemical
  • Skills: Introduction to field and laboratory soil testing procedures
  • Ideate: Apply critical analysis to soil test results
  • Prototype: Develop action management plans for soil tested landscapes
  • Present: Generate soil corrective action reports and recommendations

Success criteria

  • Following BTS soil sample collection procedure to collect quality soil samples
  • Application of laboratory soil testing procedures and collection of test results
  • Connection of soil test results with corrective action soil management recommendations

Pathway examples

  • Artisans: gardeners, landscaper, farmer
  • Designers: lab technician, soil scientist, environmental conservation, ecologist
  • Generators: nursery worker, farm hand, chef