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Composting 101

In this activity, students get a chance to learn more about composting in a fun and interactive way. 

Composting occurs when soil decomposers break down waste to unlock the nutrients (carbon, nitrogen, etc.) for the next generation of producers. There are many styles of composting; each one uses specific conditions to control the decomposition process.

Finished compost looks like dirt or soil and is the colour of dark chocolate. It’s crumbly and smells clean and fresh like the earth after it rains.

Compost acts like a vitamin pill—it adds important vitamins or nutrients to the soil. Just like people need vitamins to stay strong and healthy, so do plant. When the soil is full of nutrients, plants grow better.

Compost can help produce more food for people in a natural and Earth-friendly way. If we do not compost, the soil will slowly lose its nutrients because we take away nutrients when we harvest food. Over time the plants we eat will not grow to be as nutritious for us, or will have a harder time growing in that soil.


  • Differentiate between compostable waste and non-biodegradable waste.


Key Questions

  • What do we already know about compost?
  • What are some misconceptions about compost?

What To Do

This is an activity for the whole class.

  1. Divide classroom into 2 sides—true and false.
  2. Ask the whole class a question and get them to answer true or false by moving to the appropriate side of the room.
  3. As each question is answered, discuss the answer with students on either side of the classroom.
  4. Keep asking questions with students moving from side to side.

Other Resources

MetroVancouver | Composting

Crash Course Kids | Video | The Dirt on Decomposers