Earlier this month, the AP Environmental Science class, which includes ten high school students ranging in grades from 10th through 12th, experienced an off-site soil lab to further dig into the curriculum and gain a greater understanding of their studies.  

“My family’s plot at the Community Garden in Central Park was the perfect backdrop for our soil lab this year,” shared Kristi Schertz, AP Environmental Science teacher. “Students learn about natural resources and sustainability as part of the course and this lab reinforced that learning.”

Students used soil probes to take data and determine the temperate pH and fertility of the soil which considers levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium or NPK.

“Students need to develop several science practices and skills including gathering and analyzing data,” continued Mrs. Schertz. “Each question on the AP exam will combine content with science practice. Hands-on labs like this soil lab help develop these skills.”


In addition to this lab, students enjoyed a self-guided tour of the garden and used QR codes at various locations to learn about compost, greenhouse, pollinators, owl boxes for biological control, solar panels, and butterflies. 

“It was remarkable for students to see real people in Santa Clarita growing food and tending to soil and using science to help determine how to best grow that food,” shared Mrs. Schertz. “I am fortunate to teach a course I love and that kids love too. It’s one of the most applicable courses students take as they learn about many practical things such as how food is grown, how we get our water, how we clean it, what happens to sewage, how does air pollution affect us, and a myriad of other practical topics.”

This is Kristi’s 14th year teaching AP Environmental Science and her 8th year teaching it at SCCS.