Life Lab

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

Composting Lesson Resources and Videos


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!


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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Teaching a Growing Classroom Workshop at @OakSpringGardenFoundation in collaboration with I feel like I’ve fallen into a small French village. This is the former estate of Paul and Rachel “Bunny” Mellon in Virginia. Mrs. Mellon was an avid horticulturalist who designed the White House Rose Garden! I am staying in the room where Jackie Kennedy stayed when she visited here!! Sharing a weekend in this space with teachers who love kids and gardens is a truly unforgettable experience. ... See MoreSee Less

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Just when I thought we’d seen it all ... this is an agrophotovoltaic school garden underneath massive solar panels at @Manzo.Ecology in Tucson. The elementary school students here gather and analyze data on how the shade from the panels helps the plants grow and how the plants help cool the panels and increase their efficiency. What?!?! It’s amazing and gives me hope. Oh, and also they have a desert tortoise in their courtyard. ... See MoreSee Less

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Have you heard?! Life Lab is one of New Leaf Community Markets' recipients of their EnviroToken program at their Westside Santa Cruz store! So get your shopping on, bring your reusable bags, and donate 10¢ to Life Lab with every bag you use! Thank you, New Leaf!
#thankyou, #grateful, #ReduceReuseRecycle, #isupportlifelab
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What happens when Whole Kids Foundation partners with you to bring 50+ leaders from School Garden Support Organizations from across the country together to get to talk shop, inspire each other, problem-solve around shared challenges, and eat amazing food prepared and served by happy 5th graders? MAGIC. That's what happens. #sgso2018 ... See MoreSee Less

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Have you heard?! Life Lab is one of New Leaf Community Markets' recipients of their EnviroToken program for their Westside Santa Cruz store! So get your shopping on, bring your reusable bags, and donate 10¢ to Life Lab with every bag you use! Thank you, New Leaf!
#thankyou, #grateful, #ReduceReuseRecycle, #isupportlifelab
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We are so grateful to be starting 2018 with such strong support! Because of so many generous gifts from our supporters like you, we surpassed our 2017 fundraising goal of $124,000, with all campaign donations totaling $125,835.

These funds will help make Life Lab field trip and summer camp programs possible for children from families and schools that could otherwise not afford them. We believe that ALL children deserve the chance to love learning, healthy food, and nature. Thanks to your support, this year we will serve even more children in Santa Cruz County and across the nation.


#beapartofit, #startingstrong, #changinglives, #isupportlifelab
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Happy almost 2018, Life Lab fans! We are only $809 dollars away from reaching our $124,000 year-end fundraising goal! Before you ring in the new year, will you help us ensure a promising 2018? 100% of the funds necessary to do this important work come from grants and from individuals like you. Will you join us in ensuring that we can continue to deepen and expand our reach, so that even more children can experience the joy of loving learning, healthy food, and nature? Your tax-deductible gift made by midnight tonight will go directly to supporting our programs.
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Life Lab has been the most innovative and relevant organization in this field. From providing the best curriculum to their cutting edge professional development, we have relied on Life Lab as our go to organization for support, ideas, and collaboration.
Rachel PringleSenior Director of ProgramsEducation Outside
Life Lab provides truly inspiring training. Their breadth of experience, joy for teaching, and commitment to sharing knowledge highlight the best practices in food and garden education.
Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps
Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.
Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary
Terry had another awesome two weeks at Life Lab. I think he learns more there than in any other part of his year. School is great, but he’s passionate (and often dogmatic) about what he learns there.
Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom