- Identify different types of composting
- Describe when the different types are used
Compost is mentioned and encouraged in many early texts including the Talmud, the Old Testament, and Bhagavad Gita. Composting techniques were written about by the Egyptians, Chinese, Romans, and Greeks. The earliest “written” account of compost making is on a set of clay tablets from around 2,300 B.C. found near Mesopotamia. Egyptians were known to use worms in producing compost and it’s said that Cleopatra even declared worms sacred after witnessing how effective they were.
As agriculture developed, so did compost. Composting methods became more defined as processes were explored and refined. Animal manure, cooked bones, and other organic waste could be sowed directly into the field, manure could be layered with soil or hay to speed up decomposition, manure and contaminated straw could be soaked in water to create a potent compost brew. Blood from animal sacrifices, a common occurrence in early Greek and Roman culture, was also considered a powerful fertilizer and often collected and sold to gardeners. The processes have evolved and so has the technology but one thing remains true: Composting is, has been, and always will be a vital process to anyone serious about growing their own food.
Tools & Materials
- Flat screen or projector
- Internet access to stream image gallery
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson by asking Students if they know how many types of composting exist. Any guesses? Share a little of the history of composting to give them a sense of just how long this science has been used. Then introduce the different types of composting by name. Explain to the class that different methods are used for different purposes and are suited to different inputs.
Activity (20 minutes)
Using the flat screen or projector, load one image from the Composting Methods gallery and describe the method in detail. Ask Students to explain where they think each method might be used. Can you guess how this process works?
Discussion (10 minutes)
Where could we use compost in our Lab, around the school, or at home? How much would we need for each application?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you can name three methods of composting?
- Now that you’ve learned about various composting methods, how many of you can name three methods of composting?
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