Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Composting Lesson Resources and Videos

K-12

The Worm Guide is available from CalRecycle for download. The guide describes how food scraps are transformed into nutrient rich vermicompost and has a variety of interdisciplinary classroom activities.

Recycle Now has created a School's Resource Pack filled with teacher's notes about composting with great definable terms along with many compost activities.

"Do the Rot Thing: A Teacher's Guide to Compost Activities" was created by Central Vermont Solid Waste Management includes introductory, basic composting, worm composting, and spreading the word about composting activities for K-12.

Want to compost your school cafeteria lunch scraps? Here is a 98 page compost manual made by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection shows the steps to establish and maintain a successful school-wide composting program.

View our School Waste Reduction Guides,  Compost Garden Signs, Composting Sifting Lesson Video, and Composting with Worms Video.

Great collection of composting resources including compost material images and compost critters.

Pre K

Vermicomposting activity for pre-K! First, the kids get to be worms moving their way through a cardboard apple and make worm puppets. Then, the kids peek inside the worm bin to see how worms make dirt!

K-5

The Marin County Office of Waste Management has created over a 100 page document titled, "Composting Across the Curriculum: A Teacher's Guide To Composting". It explains why composting is important and connects compost with science, math, history, and literature for K-6 classrooms! A must read if you need help connecting compost to your other curriculum!

Westlake Elementary students take a lesson in sifting compost and looking at invertebrates! Here is a great teaching example for a compost lesson.

Here is a video of a series of composting activities that can get your kids thinking about composting! 1st two activities K-5, the 3rd activity probably best for 5th-8th.

Mr. Paradise's Class Experiment with vermicomposting. See kids research decomposition, make worm boxes, and speak about what they learned through their vermicomposting class experiment in this video.

Middle School

Another option for an indoor composting system is a two-can bioreactor because it is small and if any foul odors are emitted from the compost the lid of the second can will contain them. Here is a page made by Cornell that illustrates how to build a two-can bioreactor.

A great way to have compost in the classroom is using a soda bottle bioreactor so each student can have their own compost. Different students can put different food scraps in their bioreactors to see what composts fastest! Cornell has instructions on building a soda bottle bioreactor.

A class could also use a high tech bioreactor to manipulate composting parameters inside the classroom. Cornell has a page dedicated to the building materials and procedure required to build a classroom high tech bioreactor!

Cornell has a large resource base of compost curriculum for teachers ranging from background information to compost engineering. 15+ compost curriculum ideas for middle school and high school students!

Middle School students from Mrs. William's Class at Discovery Middle School build a compost tumbler! See the video for ideas to build compost tumbler.

High School

Composting Curriculum by Cornell for high school students. This page presents many experiments high school students could perform on compost piles to contribute to math and science education.

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