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Educator Guide: Crazy for Composting: Crazy for Composting Educator Guide

Crazy for Composting

Tips to Come Prepared

Before you visit the Genovesi Environmental Study Center (GESC) with your class, review the Educator's Guide to prepare for your students.

  • Read the Essential Questions (p. 1) and Connections to Standards (p. 2) to decide how you want to link your curriculum with your field trip
  • Complete the Pre-Visit Lesson with your class activating student interest and engagement
  • Come to GESC ready to engage and learn with our experiential, hands-on field trip program, Crazy for Compost

Library Finds

Essential Questions

  • What is compost?
  • Why compost?
  • What should you compost?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of different compost systems?

Our Educator Guide

Sora eBooks

Access these free ebooks by signing in to the Sora app with your NYC DOE credentials.

Crazy for Composting

Materials for Pre-Visit Lesson

Compelling Compost Facts

  • The Australian Brush-turkey creates huge mounds of compost in order to use the heat generated to incubate its eggs! The mound can produce more than 20 times the heat of the resting parent bird, making it possible to incubate many more eggs than would be possible in a normal nest. After hatching, chicks dig their way out.

  • President George Washington kept a “stercorary”- a structure devoted to composting manure and plant material- to improve the poor soil at Mount Vernon.

  • The Vermont Composting Company creates commercial compost using chickens! The chickens eat from the compost pile, and as they do they turn it over. Not only that, as they work the pile they add nitrogen-rich waste.

  • Cleopatra declared worms to be sacred in 50 BC, and made removal of earthworms from Egypt punishable by death.

  • Charles Darwin was fascinated by earthworms and investigated them for 40 years, exploring such questions as what foods they prefer (carrots and wild cherry), how they sense the world (they are sensitive to vibrations), and whether they are intelligent (they pull leaves into their burrow by the most efficient method).

Connections to Standards


Grade 3: Unit 2 Interdependence 
               Unit 3: Change Over Time
Grade 4: Unit 1: The Structure and Functions of Organisms
Grade 5: Unit 2: Matter and Energy in Ecosystems  Unit 3: Earth Systems Science

Third Grade

3-LS4-3. Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
3-LS4-4. Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.

Fourth Grade
4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction
4-LS1-2. Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.

Fifth Grade

5-PS3-1. Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the Sun.
5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants (producers), animals (consumers), decomposers, and the environment.
5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect Earth's resources and environment.