Introductory soil science courses include a unit on soil morphology and classification, where students learn to take measurable soil characteristics and use them in making land management decisions. A ‘learning-lith’ is a variation of a miniature monolith in that it is small and portable, but has added advantages for beginning soil students. Not only is the learning-lith small enough that each student can keep one at their desk during lecture, it also simplifies structure identification and horizonation for beginners. Instead of showing the natural structure, which, to the untrained eye, often looks like one long column of soil devoid of structure, the learning-lith breaks each horizon into peds, helping students compare and readily learn structure shape and size. In addition, by arranging individual peds, rather than an unbroken block into the monolith box, it is much easier to obtain a profile, especially if the soil is dry. The objective of this paper is to describe how to make learning-liths for utilization in soil morphological and classification lectures to prepare students for field work in soil science.


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