We had a quick worksheet today before we went up to the field to play a compost inspired game of tag.
Our worksheet was all about identifying what we ate and used at lunch time and whether it was Reusable, Recyclable, Compost, or Landfill. We had students list everything from the juice box to the plastic fork and try to come up with alternatives to the landfill items. After we finished we had students head up to the field for Decomposition Tag.
We had the whole class play this fun twist on Freeze Tag. A few students were the character of 'Death' who wore brown string to ID them. We had about 1/5th of the class act as decomposers who wore yellow string. All other students were plants or animals of their choosing. Death could freeze any of the plants or animals. If frozen, a decomposer could run around the frozen plant three times to unfreeze/decompose them. This game has no natural end, but we would stop every so often to have students change roles. This fun P.E. inspired class enforces the idea that the progression of life, death, and decomposition is a circle. We must have all of the elements for life to continue.
We had another two part lesson in STEM today working on making seed tape and inspecting the tiny creatures in our compost pile.
To make seed tape students had to use a ruler to measure out a 1'x2" strip of paper. They labeled the paper with the name of the seeds, Marigolds, and marked out spaces to glue the seeds three inches apart. We made paste out of flour and water and painted the strip. We then stuck the seeds to the strip of paper and let them dry in the sun. This would be a great project to do with seeds that need to be spaced like carrots. Another use is to have the seeds line beds and create borders for the garden. This works on students math skills and using a ruler.
Our second group was outside with Mr. Pike looking at our compost. Students dug through bins full of compost with popsicle sticks (to protect the worms). We then had a compost bingo sheet. A student would check off the critters they found by digging through the compost pile. We had students read aloud the description whenever a new creature was discovered!
This week the 3rd grade had a two-part lesson digging deeper into the elements of composting. We had a thinking project and an active project outside under the tents on the lawn.
With the class split into halves, we spent one part of class time working on making compostable pots for transplanting seedlings with the other part of class working inside on "Dirt for Lunch".
To make compostable pots we took sheets from a large roll of brown paper. Each student grabbed a recyclable can and wrapped the paper around the can. Then, he or she would fold the paper over the bottom of the can and seal up the pot with a glue stick. We then filled the paper pots with soil and a seedling from our tray of starts. You can plant these paper pots right into the soil making a waste free container for our little kale plants!
The students inside worked on our "Dirt for Lunch" project. This continued to incorporate the students daily lives into the ideas of composting and the source of our food. We had students list everything they ate for lunch then trace it back to the soil. This was a fun project because we had students color large portraits of our food cycle. It is tricky tracing certain things back to soil, like fish, but students worked as a group and came up with some great ideas.
This past Tuesday, 11/16/15, grade 3 had their first STEM class for the year. This is a brand new segment incorporating science, technology, engineering and math with a fun learning based project.
For this class we had an introduction to compost. I brought in buckets of materials and we spread them out over their desks. These materials included banana leaves, plastic wrappers, cardboard boxes, mesh sheets, drink cans, and plastic bottles. Each group of students had to sort the materials into one of three categories: Compost, Trash, Recycle.
We then discussed what makes materials compost. That is, how long it takes each material to break down and what materials release chemicals when they break down.
We then completed a small worksheet to help students understand what materials we use everyday that would be compost, mostly food vs technology.
After this we had a brainstorm session, writing down everything we use during the day from waking up to going home. We separated these materials into four categories: Trash, Recycle, Compost, Re-use.