I've given gardening a try. The first year, it was beautiful - up until the entire thing was taken over by some sort of fungus right before I could get much of a harvest from what I had planted. My husband mercilessly teased me about my $100 cup of green beans. Since that was about all I got before the mold got everything! The second year, my husband injured his back and required surgery - so I didn't have time to plant or attend to the garden. To my surprise, the entire garden came up anyway - a volunteer garden - it all just started growing! It actually did better than the one I painstakingly (and expensively, as my husband pointed out...LOL) planted the year before! So....this year, I decided to enlist the help of a Master Gardener! I signed up for a local homeschool family gardening club so I could learn what to do and what NOT to do (though I think I am ahead on that learning curve!). The first class that came up actually fit wonderfully with what we've been studying this year. It was a class on vermicomposting.
We learned about how to properly compost - what you can put in and what you shouldn't, how much air it needs and why, how much turning it takes and why, and how to layer what you put in and what breaks down the materials into "black gold"! The Master Gardener then brought out a bucket of her own compost from her home compost pile. She proceeded to place large piles in front of the kids and gave them popsicle sticks, petri dishes and told them to dig around and investigate to see what they could find and put it in the petri dish. Well, we found round worms, segmented worms, eggs, centipedes and other bugs important to the process of vermicomposting. The various collectibles were placed in the petri dish for closer inspection with magnifying glasses and comparisons were made around the classroom.
We had our own sidebar going CC style....we discussed whether the things we were finding were vertebrates or invertebrates, what kingdom they belonged to and their classification. We talked about how the various creatures reproduced - in this case fragmentation and some by egg. We also discussed the scientific method and hypothesized what we would find and why and what our materials were we were using. It turned out to be very educational. I'm not sure I learned what I should have since I got distracted with my sidebar, but the kids certainly had a great time bringing their Science to life!
So...if you have compost in your backyard, or even if you just have dirt in a pretty flower bed, think about getting a shovel and digging up some compost or dirt, to make a deeper investigation of what lies beneath and tie that to this years Science to make it come alive in a fun and meaningful way!
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