Our 5th and 6th graders had an absolute blast exploring the mysteries of decomposition and vermiculture this past quarter.
Our students are accustomed to composting through our garden and kitchen classroom, but we really wanted to make the process of decomposition and the connection that finished compost is food for the plants in the garden clear and memorable.
In rotating small groups, our students made observations of a sample of our compost using moisture meters, thermometers, and their senses. Their noses really worked overtime on that task! They also spent time using the digital microscope to note differences between decomposing plant material versus fresh plant material. They loved being able to see the details that were unapparent with the naked eye. One of their highlights was using the microscope to look at a decomposing piece of broccoli from our compost, which looked like exactly like a snowy mountain top through the microscope! Finally, they went through worm care 101 and helped us make vermiculture bins for our Red Wigglers.
I think there are still plenty of mysteries to solve when it comes to decomposition, but our students were quite the detectives!