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Eco-island: Scrapheap Barrens activity 3

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Start a composting scheme at school in the form of a ‘Worm Restaurant’.

Keystage 1

Curriculum links: En 1a, 12. Sc3 2a. Geog 5a-b.

What to do: Explain to the children that a lot of kitchen and garden waste is stuff that was once alive or ‘organic matter’. If it was once alive, then it can be left in a heap outside and will slowly rot. Then worms, beetles and maggots will visit it, eat it and leave behind tiny pieces which we call compost. Compost is very useful as it makes a good fertiliser for the garden. Composting is nature’s way of recycling so tell the children that you are going to start a Worm Restaurant in a suitable corner of the school grounds. A sunny, sheltered spot is the most ideal place.

Make lists for the dinner ladies, teachers, caretaker and children in the school of which items can be composted and therefore should not be thrown into the rubbish bin: teabags, grass and hedge cuttings, vegetable peelings, leftover fruit and vegetables, cut up newspaper, cardboard and non-coloured paper and coffee grounds.

Collect items in a large compost collection container inside the school, and then when the container is full up, take it outside and empty it on the compost heap.

Make some labels and signs to go on the wall or fence next to your compost heap explaining that you are now running a Worm Restaurant. Make up some fun dishes that the worms can enjoy: ‘Potato Peeling Pie’, ‘Apple Core Crumble’ or ‘Teabag Tart’. Make it clear that worms can eat as much as they like in return for payment in rich compost!

Keystage 2

Curriculum links: En3 1a, 9a & 12. Sc3 2f. Geog 5a-b

What to do: Explain to the children that a lot of kitchen and garden waste is stuff that was once alive or ‘organic matter’. If it was once alive, then it can be left in a heap outside and will slowly rot. Then worms, beetles and maggots will visit it, eat it and leave behind tiny pieces which we call compost. Compost is very useful as it makes a good fertiliser for the garden. Composting is nature’s way of recycling so tell the children that you are going to start a Worm Restaurant in a suitable corner of the school grounds. A sunny, sheltered spot is the most ideal place.

Make lists for the dinner ladies, teachers, caretaker and children in the school of which items can be composted and therefore should not be thrown into the rubbish bin: teabags, grass and hedge cuttings, vegetable peelings, leftover fruit and vegetables, cut up newspaper, cardboard and non-coloured paper and coffee grounds.

Collect items in a large compost collection container inside the school, and then when the container is full up, take it outside and empty it on the compost heap. The children will need to make a rota making sure that the compost container is checked and emptied regularly.

Make some labels and signs to go on the wall or fence next to your compost heap explaining that you are now running a Worm Restaurant. Make up some fun dishes that the worms can enjoy: ‘Potato Peeling Pie’, ‘Apple Core Crumble’ or ‘Teabag Tart’. Make it clear that worms can eat as much as they like in return for payment in rich compost!

Ask the children to chart the progress of the decomposing items on the compost heap. Do some items disappear faster than others? Which ‘dishes’ do the worms seem to favour most?

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