Agriculture, Language Arts (English), Research, Science
|Topic/Unit of Study & Time Allotment||
This lesson covers creating compost in the classroom. It falls under the larger unit of gardening, with a focus on Earth and life science.
Goal: Students will gain an understanding of compost, including the materials needed, the necessary procedures, and the overall benefits of compost to plants and a garden.
Objective 1: Given the question orally and/or written, students will be able to name four major ingredients in compost, as well as two negative (non-helpful) ingredients.
Objective 2: When asked, students will be able to knowledgeably state that compost is better than chemical fertilizer and explain why with 90% accuracy.
Students will explore the idea of creating a compost heap, acting as young environmentalists, keeping written and photographic logs along the way. They will use writing skills to explain the project and ask for the materials they need. Students will work together to actually make a natural compost and take part in an experiment to prove its beneficial qualities.
This lesson is part of a larger unit on gardening. The lesson covers compost, which can connect with other lessons on the needs of plants. It can take place before or after a garden has been started, but compost should be used for or added to the garden either way.
(Days may not happen one right after the other)
1. (Day 1) Briefly discuss compost.
2. Read Compost Stew by Mary McKenna.
3. (Day 2) Have environmental expert come in to talk about compost and the importance of using it in gardening. The expert will be able to review the basics of composting, helping students to better understand the process, supply motivation, and give the project a "real life" meaning.
4. (Day 3) Review compost.
5. Have students brainstorm how they will collect the items they need for the compost (chart).
6. (Day 4) Have students get outside and begin looking for outdoor ingredients for the compost such as green leaves, weeds, moss, non-woody plant materials, and small bits of wood.
7. (Day 5) Randomly assign students into three groups and have them discuss their letters, reflecting on the ingredient chart.
8. (Day 6) Students will finish rough drafts of letters and create peer posters.
9. (Day 7) Students will write the final drafts of their letters (I will deliver). Students will hang posters.
10. (Days 8-10) Ingredients will be collected.
*** (Day 9) begins partner rotation: Everyday 2-3 students will go outside to stir the compost with a shovel or rake and take a photo of the progress. They will report results to their classmates with pictures.
11. (End of 2 Weeks) The compost should be complete in about two weeks.
During this time, students will only be focusing on mixing, reporting, and journaling every couple of days.
12. (Post-Compost Completion Experiment) Once the compost is complete in about two weeks, students will begin an experiment.
*** I would recommend linking this experiment with a lesson on plants/plant growth as it will take some time to get results.
13. Assessment: Have students write a final journal/log reflecting on the experience and hitting on the objective points.
14. Optional Lesson Follow-Ups
|Sample Student Products||
Students will work collaboratively & individually. Students will work in groups of 2.
30 class periods. 35 Mins. per class.
|Author's Comments & Reflections||
Collaboration: Students will also be working in groups of 6-8 to establish a plan for their letters.
Time Allotment: The first 10 days are strict as far as getting work done and establishing the main ideas. 35 minutes per day is not necessary when students are simply turning the compost and reporting. These days can be filled with lessons on similar topics or the time can be dispersed into other subject areas. Set-up, compost, and experiment should take about 1 month in all.
* This lesson can occur at any point during the garden-learning process.
MATERIALS AND RESOURCES
STANDARDS & ASSESSMENT
MI- Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations
Subject: ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS
Grade: SECOND GRADE
Topic: Writing Genres
Expectation: W.GN.02.05 With teacher assistance,
—gather resources (electronic and/or print)
—organize information using key ideas
—use the writing process to produce and present the final project.
Grade: Grade Two
Discipline: Science Processes
Standard: Inquiry Process
K-7 Standard S.IP: Develop an understanding that scientific inquiry and reasoning involves observing, questioning, investigating, recording, and developing solutions to problems.
Expectation: S.IP.E.1 Inquiry involves generating questions, conducting investigations, and developing solutions to problems through reasoning and observation.
Statement: S.IP.02.11 Make purposeful observation of the natural world using the appropriate senses.
Statement: S.IP.02.12 Generate questions based on observations.
Statement: S.IP.02.15 Make accurate measurements with appropriate units (meter, centimeter) for the measurement tool.
Discipline: Life Science
Standard: Organization of Living Things
K-7 Standard L.OL: Develop an understanding that plants and animals (including humans) have basic requirements for maintaining life which include the need for air, water and a source of energy. Understand that all life forms can be classified as producers, consumers, or decomposers as they are all part of a global food chain where food/energy is supplied by plants which need light to produce food/energy. Develop an understanding that plants and animals can be classified by observable traits and physical characteristics. Understand that all living organisms are composed of cells and they exhibit cell growth and division. Understand that all plants and animals have a definite life cycle, body parts, and systems to perform specific life functions.
Expectation: L.OL.E.1 Life Requirements- Organisms have basic needs. Animals and plants need air, water, and food. Plants also require light. Plants and animals use food as a source of energy and as a source of building material for growth and repair.
Statement: L.OL.02.14 Identify the needs of plants
USA- ISTE: National Educational Technology Standards for Students: The Next Generation
Standard: 2. Communication and Collaboration- Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
Indicator: Students: b. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
Standard: 3. Research and Information Fluency- Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
Indicator: Students: d. process data and report results.