Decomposition, Soil, and Life Cycle Research
- Grade level: Middle Elementary
- Subject Area: Science
Students conduct background research on the decomposition process, soil composition, and the life cycle using the resources provided for directed Internet searches.
- Students will conduct research using Internet resources to enhance their understanding of the life cycle, soil composition, and the decomposition process.
- Students will work in collaborative groups to select a topic for investigation and to conduct Internet research.
Materials and Resources Needed
Internet resources: Refer to the list below of resources on worms, gardening, and soil to help students get started on their research.
- Have collaborative groups of students discuss a topic of interest for investigation that is related to the worm bin and plant growing lessons, as well as to humans' place in the life cycle. Possible topics may include soil erosion, the growth and distribution of crops on a farm, vegetarianism, a particular plant of interest.
- Consult the list of resources provided and then have groups of students conduct Internet searches to collect information on their selected topic. Discuss appropriate Internet behavior and etiquette. Students may need assistance in learning to use the Internet.
- Students collaborate over email with the partner groups arranged in Lesson 2. They may choose to send questions over email to experts in the area they have chosen to explore.
- Have students consider their place in the life cycle. Discuss with them in the whole group the effects of human activity on the lives of other organisms.
Here are some resources related specifically to worm projects:
Includes a generic gopher server, the Sanger DCener, UTSW Server, The Worm Web, a worm-related newsgroup, the Worm Breeder's Gazette, the Worm Literature Index and Term Searcher, and photographs.
A very good site that includes teaching resources - including a syllabus, laboratory exercises, lab simulations, etc.
A web site for Ms. Edding's 2nd grade class on worm bins.
Photographs and text on how to use worms for composting.
Here are some resources related to gardening:
Information for the "serious gardener"; forums, books, mailing list.
This is a clearinghouse for all kinds of gardening information: kids' gardens, searchable publications databases, fact sheets, newsgroups on all kinds of plant- and garden-related topics.
Texas Agricultural Service page including information on landscaping and environmentally sound composting (with worms).
Ohio State University site with fact sheets, mini-quizzes, and other gardening resources.
Tips for finding answers to specific gardening questions. Also contains databases on particular types of plants, such as carnivorous, cacti, bonsai, and others. Also provides information on composting.
Descriptions of dozens of rare, edible plants.
Here are some resources related to soil:
General information about soil types, care, composition, and conditioners.
Site on environmental and agricultural education with downloadable lessons and teachers' guides on topics including soil, chemicals, and the interrelatedness of different organisms.
This site contains information about vital soil and plant nutrients and fertilizers. Look under Soil and Crops.
National Society of Consulting Soil Scientists page containing information on university, government, and professional soil science organizations.
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