Quick summary: Students complete a biodiversity survey of their school’s compost bins. They then collect data to determine how successful their school’s green waste is operating. Students make recommendations to their school community on improvements to the school’s composting system.
This lesson has been developed as part of the Schools Recycle Right Challenge for Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week. Register your lesson or other activities so they can be counted towards the national achievement and to receive other free support materials.
Learning goals for this activity include: Students build an understanding of the different types of waste that is in their school. They create a classification key of compost creatures. They build skills in observation, data collection and the analysing of data.
Australian National Curriculum:
Year 7 Science:
- There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity (ACSSU111)
- Interactions between organisms can be described in terms of food chains and food webs; human activity can affect these interactions (ACSSU112)
Syllabus Outcomes: SC4-14LW, SC4-15LW.
Topic: National Recycling Week
Time needed: 60 minutes
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – students will need assistance in classifying the invertebrates found in a compost bin.
Resources needed: Low power microscopes, petrie dishes, icepole stick or similar for poking through compost samples, fresh moist compost samples, tablets (ipads) or clip boards and writing materials.
Digital technology opportunities: As an extension students can try to photograph some of the invertebrates or use a digital or a close focusing camera to record the animals.
There’s an app for that: Home Composting for Organic Gardeners with Garden Organic.This app will show you how to make your own compost for free, helping you to feed and improve the soil condition.
Assumed prior learning: Students should be familiar with using low powered microscopes. Have already done some work on classifying invertebrates. (This activity could be extended by using it as an introduction to invertebrate classification.)
Key words: Compost, green waste, invertebrate, insect, biodegradable, bacteria, fungus, mould, decomposition, contamination.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.
These Planet Ark resources were developed by Cool Australia with funding from the Alcoa Foundation.