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Specific and detailed activities

Lesson content
Introduction:
As a whole class, discuss the recycling programs that are being implemented into the
classroom, the wider school community, and the home environment. After brainstorming this
together, the teacher is to inform students that composting is natures way of recycling, which
will be the focus of science education over the next three weeks. Place images of different
types of compost (e.g. hot composting, cold composting, vermicomposting, worm composting
etc) and discuss these as a whole class. Ask students to consider the purpose of a compost
bin and the contexts in which they are used. Using students ideas and suggestions create a
compost mind map for students to refer back to throughout the unit if needed.
Focus questions:

What recycling programs have you observed in the classroom, school and home
environment?

What can you tell us about these images? What do they all have in common? How do
they differ?

What else do you know about compost?

What is the purpose of a compost bin?

Where do you think compost bins are found?

Activity:
Place the term decompose on the whiteboard and ask students to share whether or not they
have heard this term before, what they think it might mean, and how it could relate to
compost. After students have shared their thoughts, explain that some materials breakdown
overtime in the compost cycle and this process is referred to as decomposition. Using the
hypothesis chart (see appendix a), students are to predict which materials (apple, chip
packet, cotton material, tissue, and teabag) will or will not decompose in the compost bin over
the duration of the three sessions (and beyond). After completing their individual hypothesis
charts, students are to discuss and compare their predictions with their peers (think-pairshare).
Making the compost:
Explain to students that we will be making our own compost bins (in groups) and will be
observing how different materials decompose overtime. Ask students to consider the
materials that are needed to create a compost bin and explore this further as a class.
Students are given ten minutes to collect natural materials from the schoolyard that can be
used as layers in their own compost bins. In groups, students begin assembling their compost

bins using the following steps (as modelled and explained by the teacher). As students are
completing each step, teacher will explain why it is an important component of composting.
1. Place soil in the bottom of the bottle: this allows organisms, such as worms, to give
air to the compost.
2. Place a layer of twigs above the soil: this helps with drainage.
3. Add compost items throughout the layers: in order to observe whether or not certain
materials decompose overtime.
4. Complete the final step by adding manure: activates the compost pile and speeds the
process along.
5. Cover the bottle: helps retain heat and moisture, which are essential for composting.
Resources:

Clear bottles (x6)

Compost fillers: mulch, twigs, kitchen scraps, dry leaves and paper.

Apple, chip packet, tissue, and teabag.

Whiteboard markers

Photos of compost

Plastic Gloves

Water Spray Bottle

Focus questions:

What is the significance of each of the layers of the compost?

Why is it important to use natural materials?

Discussion + Closure:
Re-join as a whole class after all students have completed their compost bins. Ask each
group to share the material that they are observing over the three-week period and their
predictions regarding whether or not the chosen material will decompose over time.
Encourage students to share how their knowledge of compost has evolved over the lesson
and ask them to identify any new understandings theyve developed (these ideas can be
added to the mind-map created at the beginning of the lesson).
Focus questions:

What was your hypothesis? Which material do you think will decompose the most?

Why is it important to compost/ what are the benefits of composting for the
environment?

How has your understanding of compost evolved since the beginning of the lesson?