Healthy Soil for Healthy Crops and Seeds: Action Learning Curriculum for Small-Holder Farmers


April 1, 2017 - Author: <>, Edward Mzumura, Regis Chikowo

The action learning throughout this module offers a way to excite learners and create a fun learning environment. This approach will promote co-learning from teacher to student and peer to peer learning from farmer to farmer. The relationships that develop during this training can lead to a more productive and on-going engagement in soil and crop health.

Use this curriculum for ideas it offers or follow exactly as stated, it is up to you. Share it with others and create your own module. You can build on the enclosed module or reduce it to fit your needs. Just consider the following items before you offer an educational program:

  • The knowledge level of your students?
  • How much time do you have for the session?
  • What is the goal or reason for this educational session?

Making Good Observations

Goal: Learn how soil varies with depth and location.
The value to make good observations to make smart improvements.

Discuss the following questions.

  1. Why are we talking about soil when you came here to learn about seed production?
  2. How can soil contribute to better seeds?
  3. What are some improvements to soil that will help grow healthy beans?
Activity 1

Time: 1 hour

Description: Make observations in soil pits.
Before looking - discuss what happens under ground. (Water passing, insects moving, roots growing and getting food and water, soil shifting)

In groups, take turns looking in the pit-closely.

  • First use just your eyes.
  • Then use your hand lens to look closely at specific things in the wall of the soil.
  • Share what you see.


  • Do you see any roots in the pits? The roots are from which plant?
  • Do you see anything alive in the soil? Describe/name.
  • What observations have you made about the soil?
  • What differences do you see at different depths?
  • What are the different types of things you see?
    • Dead, alive, or neither (like a rock)?

Download the file to learn more about the different activities you use in your action learning curriculum!



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