- Included thermometers demonstrate temperature changes during decomposition process
- Includes 12"W x 4"D x 8"H clear plastic box with faux grass top, 3 clear-view compartments with aeration holes and magnification spots, and thermometers
- Teaches decomposition, composting, life cycles, and environmental education
- Teacher's guide with usage ideas, time lines, and science fair applications
• Compost container divided into 3 sections
• 3 thermometers
The Now You See It, Now You Don’t See-Through Compost Container is
designed to allow students to actually see the process of decomposition.
1. In addition to the contents provided, you will need some soil.
2. Select three items that you would like to see decompose. See suggestions on
page 3 for what to put in your compost container.
3. Put an item, for example a banana peel, in one of the container sections. Press
the peel against the front of the container and then pour soil behind it. The
soil should entirely fill the section and support the peel so that it stays pressed
against the window.
4. Repeat step 3 with two additional items in the other two sections.
5. Water all three sections so that the soil and items are moist but not drowning.
6. Place the lid on top.
7. If you plan to measure the temperature as each item is decomposing, then
insert the thermometers in the holes in the top. Record the daily temperature.
The included thermometer is in Celsius. The Celsius scale is part of the metric
system and is the system of choice for scientists in the United States and
around the world.
8. Watch what happens to the items over the next couple of months. Record
daily observations. Photograph the container every few days so that you have
a photographic, step-by-step record of the decomposition process. If possible,
use a video camera to record a few seconds each day; at the end, you’ll have a
time-lapse video of the entire process!
9. As the soil dries out, add water to keep it moist.
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What’s Happening Inside Your Compost Container?
Tiny microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa eat the organic
waste in the container. As they break down the materials, they produce heat.
Different types of bacteria and fungi are more prevalent at different times,
depending on factors such as the current temperature, pH, oxygen level, amount
of water, and type of food available. Many children think of bacteria and mold
as bad. Explain to students that these types of organisms are beneficial to us all
because they clean up the earth’s ‘trash’ by literally recycling organic material and
turning it back into rich soil from which new living things can grow.
Suggested Items to Put in Your Compost Container
aluminum foil, apple, apple core, baby tooth, banana peel, bread, flowers, clean
egg shells, grass clippings, hair, leaf, metal nail, newspaper, nuts, orange peel,
peach pit, paper, plastic toy, potato, Styrofoam® cup, tea bag, wood
To avoid odors and rodents, meat and dairy products are not recommended.