Garbage to Garden

My lesson focuses on teaching students about composting. I wanted the students to leave knowing how they can make a difference in contributing to climate change and reducing pollution by simply separate the classroom trash into the correct bins.
I used experiential learning to guide my plan. I want to engage the children with experiences and encourage them to ask questions. The class turnout was excellent, we had the most students that day (8), everyone was engaged in the activities. The activities we did accomplish were the
introduction and sorting trashes into categories (recycle, compost and garbage), reading the book “from garbage to garden,” creating the life cycle game, the compost bingo game and the micro-composter project. I was impressed with the amount of knowledge that children know about compost; one student said it turns into soil, applause for 2nd graders.
Reflecting on how each activity went, beginning with the sorting game. The students thought critically where each item goes and enjoyed the sorting process. During the sorting process, fun facts about recycling, composting were shared. We moved on to the book reading activity. I
passed around a bag of compost, the students were not too interested in the soil, but the book had pictures that explained the composting process well. Then we transition to the cycle of life game. Students each were given a picture represent part of the cycle of life. Other instructors guided them by asking them questions. The children have a general understanding of where food comes from, commercial compost was introduced to students. Next, we transition to bingo, it is eye-opening to see how much they enjoy bingo; we keep going until everyone has at least one bingo. Last, we build a small composter with Ziploc. The activity of cutting grass, leaves and fruit scraps were harder than I expected, but they have fun trying to fill up the bag with organics for their compost.
I designed the activities that were a better fit for the large activity. Talking to students through each activity make me realize how much of a challenge is for them to the practice of listening to the teacher or others. I think overall the activities went well with other instructors help. For
example, instructors made sure students stay on task and engaged during the sorting activities; they facilitated the micro-composer activity by assisting students in small groups that ensure the students understand the 3 important parts of compost which the greens, browns, and water are.
Finally, we hand out plants for students to take home and tell them to use the compost in a few weeks for their plants. All in all, I would probably change the Bingo board with pictures instead words. While I was facilitating and help students to find the words that were called out, I realized that it was hard for students to find the worlds and some of them have lost interest because they have trouble reading the words.
My main hope is that students will be more mindful when they throw their trash away. They will not have “out of sight and out of mind” mindset, they can be mindful of where things come from and where does it go after.

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