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Posts Tagged ‘soil’

Today we are off the topic of insects and back to gardens…

So, you’ve learned all about compost and attended a “worm”shop… Now, what are you going to do with all that rich soil?

Kids dig in the garden at Brooklyn Children's Museum

How about starting a garden at your school? That may sound quite daunting, but there are organizations out there to help you. GrowNYC, for example, has a program called Grow to Learn that includes information on how to start a garden, funding to start the garden, resources for parents, advice from expert gardeners, teacher resources, eating the produce you grow, and much more! Check out their website, http://www.growtolearn.org/.

Planting season will sneak up on you before you know it, so now is a great time to get your school involved in starting a garden. And don’t forget that New York Botanical Garden is having a gardening workshop on November 8th.

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So, why all these recent posts about composting? Here are some reasons you might teach about decay or compost in your classroom:

  • Study of decay is great for the scientific method. Get students to ask what will happen and why, then observe, and record. Try out different decay conditions – how is decomposition affected by light, water, air?
  • It links to your science curriculum. In New York City, you could teach about decay in the context of seasonal trees (kindergarten), worm anatomy (1st grade), soil (2nd grade), plant and animal adaptations (3rd grade), etc…
  • Proper compost is used to grow new food. Teaching about compost and its role in agriculture supplements study of nutrition and gets kids involved in their food production, which in turn helps them eat healthier.
  • It prepares students to be act sustainably. Recycling is dandy, but is not the full solution to waste management. Compost eliminates organic waste from landfills, reducing their volume, and at the same time provides a free fertilizer for soil. Compost is thus a great use of resources.

These are some reasons to teach about compost. What would you add?

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Your students already know about decomposition and what compost is. You know about opportunities in New York City for teachers to learn about how to compost with students. Now, you are interested in finding kid-friendly compost resources. Great! We can help with that. Here are some kid-friendly composting books to help answer your students’ questions and get them involved in the science of composting:

Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals: this rhyming book is a recipe for what to mix into your compost pile. Kids will join in with the refrain, “Just add to the pot / and let it all rot / into Compost Stew.”

Garbage Helps Our Compost Grow by Linda Glaser: using photographs, the story of a family that uses compost in their garden. Features common compost questions at the end, making this a kids’ compost “manual.”

Compost Critters by Bianca Lavies:  the text is written for upper elementary students (grades 3-5), but the photographs make this book accessible to any age. Lavies documents in detail the animals that help her compost pile decompose into rich soil and the wonderful plants she’s able to grow with such excellent soil. This book presents the full cycle of compost into detail.

Handful of Dirt by Raymond Bial: written for older students (grades 3-5), this book photographs in extensive detail all the stuff that’s in dirt. The book will fascinate students and completely change their perspective on soil.

What other great, kid-friendly composting books would you recommend?

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