Montana State University

LRES 591-802: The Dirt on Soil Science

The Office of Continuing Education at Extended University offers both face-to-face and online learning opportunities:

  • Degree Programs
  • Certificate Programs
  • Professional Development
  • Summer Field Study Programs
  • Study Abroad
  • Leisure and Lifelong Learning
  • Youth Programs

Mar 13-Apr 21, 2017
Credit: 1 graduate
Instructor(s): Suzanna Soileau

Course Description

CRN 34683

This is an exciting 6-week online course, directed toward K-6 elementary school teachers who want to understand the science of "dirt." This includes conversing with your instructor and classmates in weekly online discussions. The focus will be on basic soil physical properties and processes.

The specific goals of this course are:

  • Expand your understanding of the concepts of soil science and use soil as a platform to teach other science disciplines.
  • Gain understanding of how soil is formed.
  • Begin to understand your local soil/ landscape interactions.
  • Getting dirty while discovering different soil textures.
  • Gain understanding of soil and water relationships.
  • Gain understanding of the biology of soil.
  • Study how children's concepts of soil and land resources are developed in the classroom setting.
  • Strengthen skills in teaching basic soil science concepts, engaging students, and responding to student needs in the classroom
  • Develop our own professional community of course participants, sharing teaching ideas, expertise and experience.

Meeting Place and Times

Teachers login to the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week to stay current and successfully complete this 1 credit course.


Suzanna Soileau, ME.
Suzanna spent seven years as the Education Coordinator and Water Quality Research Associate for the Montana State University Extension Water Quality Program. She is currently an Outreach Physical Scientist with the USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center in Bozeman, Montana. The primary focus of her work is in relaying technical scientific information in a manner that enables non-science audiences to gain sound, science-based knowledge, as well as develop and deliver online water quality and soil science courses for teachers and professional practitioners. Suzanna received her bachelor's degree in Earth Sciences at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana and her master's degree in Education at MSU.


Bachelor's degree, experience teaching hands-on science.

Target Audience

This course is designed for elementary and middle school teachers who teach science in their classrooms.

Time Commitment:

6-8 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

If you are accepted into a qualified online program, see the appropriate MSU Online Only Tuition and Fee table below:

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedules.

Required Books/Materials

  • Soil Science Simplified by Helmut Kohnke and D. P. Franzmeier
    ISBN: 978-0881338133
    This book can be purchased for approximately $16 at
  • You will be required to purchase/ find soil related materials. You will be sent the list once you register.

Computer Requirements:

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

For more information contact Kelly Boyce at .

How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.

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