Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Biodegradeable Packaging And The Rot-A-Torium
The vitamin pills above came in a neat biodegradeable package. In fact, it was so environmentally friendly that I ate it along with the cool green vitamin pills that were inside it. Now, as for the packaging below...
This package also had tastey round things in it. Possibly not quite as good for me, but I ate a bunch just in case they were. I did NOT eat this package. I did use it though...
In my classroom, I have a "Rot-A-Torium". It is an old leaky aquarium now filled with garden soil. Up front, where they can be clearly seen through the glass, I buried a yellow M&M package, a banana peel from my lunch, and an orange peel (also from my lunch). For variety, I half buried a large tough magnolia leaf.
On the outside of the glass, next to each item, I stuck a small label with the buried item name and the date it was buried. This was in November of 2003.
I did not mention it to the kids, but let them discover the Rot-A-Torium
as they checked out the nearby saltwater aquariums.
As kids are, some were "ho-hum" about it, but a number of them were intrigued and checked the "decay display" each day.
They saw the banana peel turn black, shrink in size, and "vanish" within a month.
They saw the orange peel turn grey-green with mold, shrink in size, and "vanish" within 3 months.
They saw the buried part of the magnolia leaf breakdown long before the dry brown unburied portion rotted, but eventually both parts "vanished".
If they were very observant, or if I had a chance to point it out to them, they noticed that the soil around the pocket left by each rotted sample was darker than the surrounding soil.
Since then I have replaced the banana peel, the orange peel, and the leaf a couple of times so new students could see the process. I have replaced the paper labels after they cracked and peeled off the glass.
I have not touched the M&M package.
The kids who were in the original Rot-A-Torium class, are now finishing their freshman year in high school. They have changed a lot. They are taller, fatter, skinnier, pimplier, ...cooler then they were as 7th graders in 2003.
The buried M&M wrapper looks as new as the day I buried it, November 23, 2003.
Posted by R.Powers at 5:46 AM