That’s Not Trash?
- Describe what compost is
- Describe how the composting process work
Composting provides numerous benefits to the small scale farmer and gardener, the soil they tend, and the planet at large. Composting reduces the amount of waste that goes to the landfill, decreases methane emissions, increases soil nutrient levels and tilth, helps the soil retain more moisture… The list truly does go on and on.
What’s even more impressive is that composting isn’t just a single process but rather one that can be performed and managed a number of different ways. It can be an intensive process that reduces the total time to completion or it can be managed as a passive process leaving Mother Nature to do her thing in her own time.
No matter which process is implemented, composting turns what would otherwise be a waste product into something extremely valuable, a form of black gold that is loaded with micronutrients, macronutrients, trace minerals, and the potential to improve the soil with a single application.
Tools & Materials
- 1 small bag of compost
- Magnifying glasses
- Thermophilic composting
- Bulking agent
- Carbon nitrogen ratio
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson by defining what compost is and describing what it should look and feel like when properly finished. Describe the inputs, the process they go through, and the outputs that are created. Give the Students a general timeline of the composting process.
Activity (20 minutes)
Have the Students analyze samples of store-bought compost by hand, then with a magnifying glass, and finally under a microscope. Can they identify any of the original inputs? Is there any visible activity by the microorganisms?
Discussion (10 minutes)
What is compost? How is it created? What does it do to the soil? How does it benefit plants?
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 know what finished compost looks, feels, and smells like?
- Now that you’ve worked with finished compost, how many of you think you can determine when we have finished compost in our system?
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