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Decomposition Experiment

Kit #35

All materials do not decompose at the same rate nor do all materials decompose. In this activity students explore how the rate of decomposition is affected by the substrate in which the material is being decomposed and the chemical make-up of the material. Different student groups prepare different combinations of substrate and material then all students observe and compare the decomposition rates over a period of several weeks.

Details at a Glance

  • 1 Day | 1 ~50 minute class period
  • 1 Activity
  • Accommodates 2 classes, each with 12 groups of 4 students
  • Consumables service 96 students
  • Meets our criteria for supporting literacy
  • Includes digital resources
  • Requires a water source

Scientific Concepts

•Decomposition is a critical process for the health and survival of all ecosystems.
KEY VOCABULARY: decomposition/decomposer, substrate

Guides & Student Sheets

Our kits and modules provide you with everything you need so you can open, review, and teach the material confidently the next day.

  • Full downloadable Teacher Guide with background information, detailed instruction, example data and answers
  • Downloadable Student Sheets with age appropriate background information, full procedure(s), and analysis questions
  • All materials necessary to carry out the investigation
  • Safety Data Sheets

Kit Components

  • 24 Cover dishes, clear
  • 24 Flower pots, plastic
  • 2 Trays, plastic
  • 1 Package of dried plant material
  • 1 Package of gravel
  • 1 Package of processed foodstuff
  • 1 Package of animal material
  • 1 Package of clean sharp sand
  • 1 Package of natural fibers
  • 1 Package of plastic fragments
  • 1 Package of soil rich organic matter
  • 1 Package of synthetic fibers
  • 50 Student Worksheets and Guides
  • 1 Teacher’s Guide with MSDS
  • Not included and needed for instruction: Several spoons or other scooping utensils.