About ASAP

Growing Minds is a program of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food.

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Soil is every-where, and everything comes from soil! A Handful of Dirt gives students an in-depth look at how soil is formed, what it’s made of, and why it is important to all life—from microorganisms to worms to rabbits. Learn about the different jobs of microscopic creatures in the soil and discover hidden activity that’s always happening just below our feet.

This delightful read will inform young “environmental chefs” about the do’s and don’ts of composting.  Mary McKenna Siddals draws you in by mentioning familiar household items that can be composted, but also introduces some not-so-familiar composting substances that will leave students wanting to dig deeper (both figuratively and literally)!

Illustrated with vibrant photographs, this story explains how food and garden scraps break down into compost. Follow along as a family composts their table scraps (even their old Jack-o-lantern!) in the backyard bin, eventually using the resulting compost to enrich the soil for the spring garden.


An ode to muddy hands and feet, brown earth, and new grass

Dig a little deeper in this nonfiction all about soil.

Through garden exploration, students will learn about the properties of soil and why soil is important to plants. They will closely observe soil and practice tallying and reporting results of soil experiments.


Brief Description:
Students use books and handouts to create game show questions about soils and then form teams and play the game.

Have students conduct research on a topic
Students will form questions based on facts and information gathered from research
Share researched information with the class through a fun game
Challenge students to work as a group

Materials :
Books and handouts about soils and compost. Paper and writing materials, whiteboard or chalkboard, play money.
NC Standard Course of Study Goals :
Science –2.01, 2.03, 2.04, 2.05, 2.06
English Language Arts –1.04, 1.06,2.03, 2.06, 2.08, 3.03, 3.06, 4.02, 5.08.
Math – 1.02
Getting Started / Procedure

Explain to students that they are […]

Students will use thermometers to measure soil temperature and use the information to determine if the soil is warm enough to support plant growth.


From slugs to spiders, this book takes you on a visual journey of the variety of creatures that live under one rock.

What happens undergound? Creatures dig, plants put down roots, worms tunnel… This book introduces students to the vast array of life that occurs under the ground.