Like Mycelium in Mushrooms, Progressive Ed Spreads Through Second Grade at Orchard | Chapter 2: "Wompost" & World Wildlife Fund Offer

After building a strong community, discovering the impact of mushrooms, and eventually tackling a worm compost, students found themselves asking very important questions. Some of the questions had a bigger impact than they realized at the time. ICYMI: Click here to read chapter 1.
 
During an early observation, the students realized the amount of food waste they were producing each day was too much for the worms to handle. One student asked the question that would change the course of their work. “What happens when a worm eats too much!?” This led to second graders weighing their food waste on a daily basis in order to keep track of just how much waste they were producing, as well as a way to control how much food their “Wompost” can handle.
 
This news made its way to Jim Poyser from Earth Charter Indiana, who helped Orchard become one of only nine states to participate in a national food waste audit through the World Wildlife Fund and The Kroger Co. Foundation.
 
In case you forgot, these are second graders! Oh, the power of Progressive education.
 
Journey through chapter 2 below.

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    • Science: Chapter 1 ended with our second graders taking advantage of Orchard’s many compost bins and inoculating a compost pile with some of the mushroom spores they grew in their classrooms. What better way to limit scientific variables and to see the true power of mushrooms? Eventually, second grade students had the opportunity to take a field trip to White Pine Wilderness Academy, where they learned how to locate and harvest mushrooms.
      Inoculating a Compost Pile

      Science: Chapter 1 ended with our second graders taking advantage of Orchard’s many compost bins and inoculating a compost pile with some of the mushroom spores they grew in their classrooms. What better way to limit scientific variables and to see the true power of mushrooms? Eventually, second grade students had the opportunity to take a field trip to White Pine Wilderness Academy, where they learned how to locate and harvest mushrooms.

    • Science; Outdoor Education: Got worms? No problem! Students stepped up to the challenge to learn how to feed and care for red wrigglers when thousands arrived by mail one day in the fall...thanks to Colleen Bumford, Outdoor Education Coordinator. When learning about the differences between different types of composts, one of the second graders decided to keep the terminology simple. Simon suggested we just go with “wompost” from here on out. Clearly, this is the best way to describe vermicomposting!
      "Wompost"

      Science; Outdoor Education: Got worms? No problem! Students stepped up to the challenge to learn how to feed and care for red wrigglers when thousands arrived by mail one day in the fall...thanks to Colleen Bumford, Outdoor Education Coordinator. When learning about the differences between different types of composts, one of the second graders decided to keep the terminology simple. Simon suggested we just go with “wompost” from here on out. Clearly, this is the best way to describe vermicomposting!

    • Math; Science, Technology: At Orchard, our curriculum is designed to be flexible so we can follow students’ interests with ease. As a part of their exploration into what worms would and wouldn’t eat, second graders made a series of graphs and charts logging all of the food served at lunch that day and which food items could be thrown away, recycled, put in a regular compost, or put in the “wompost.”
      "Wompost"

      Math; Science, Technology: At Orchard, our curriculum is designed to be flexible so we can follow students’ interests with ease. As a part of their exploration into what worms would and wouldn’t eat, second graders made a series of graphs and charts logging all of the food served at lunch that day and which food items could be thrown away, recycled, put in a regular compost, or put in the “wompost.”

    • Literacy; Writing; Science: Serious work doesn’t only happen in the classroom.  When your project work involves using real tools to quantify food waste, you might as well take the opportunity to record your predictions and thoughts right at the cafeteria table! In this photo, a second grader jots down notes to help him remember what to share back with his classmates when finishing weighing the food waste bucket that day.
      "Wompost"

      Literacy; Writing; Science: Serious work doesn’t only happen in the classroom. When your project work involves using real tools to quantify food waste, you might as well take the opportunity to record your predictions and thoughts right at the cafeteria table! In this photo, a second grader jots down notes to help him remember what to share back with his classmates when finishing weighing the food waste bucket that day.

    • Science; Math; Empathy: Just how much can thousands of red wrigglers eat? After feeding our worms a lot of scraps in the first few days of caring for them, we realized the amount of food waste we were producing each day was too much for the worms to handle. One student asks the question that changes the course of their work, “What happens when a worm eats too much!” This led to second graders weighing their food waste on a daily basis in order to keep track of just how much waste we are producing, as well as a way to control how much food our wompost can handle.
      "Wompost"

      Science; Math; Empathy: Just how much can thousands of red wrigglers eat? After feeding our worms a lot of scraps in the first few days of caring for them, we realized the amount of food waste we were producing each day was too much for the worms to handle. One student asks the question that changes the course of their work, “What happens when a worm eats too much!” This led to second graders weighing their food waste on a daily basis in order to keep track of just how much waste we are producing, as well as a way to control how much food our wompost can handle.

    • Social and Emotional Learning; Outdoor Education: Some days our wompost needed some extra help--In this photo, second graders take a bucket around to collect additional food scraps from middle school students to keep our worms happy and healthy.
      "Wompost"

      Social and Emotional Learning; Outdoor Education: Some days our wompost needed some extra help--In this photo, second graders take a bucket around to collect additional food scraps from middle school students to keep our worms happy and healthy.

    • Science; Math: At a progressive school like Orchard, real-world experiences carry over into the daily life of the classroom. After weighing our food waste for several days, second graders began to chart all of our food items, to classify them into different categories, and to keep track of just how much waste was being produced each day. Students took turns with the record-keeping, and even led the discussions about what we could do to reduce our food waste.
      Quantifying Our Food Waste

      Science; Math: At a progressive school like Orchard, real-world experiences carry over into the daily life of the classroom. After weighing our food waste for several days, second graders began to chart all of our food items, to classify them into different categories, and to keep track of just how much waste was being produced each day. Students took turns with the record-keeping, and even led the discussions about what we could do to reduce our food waste.

    • Community; Collaboration; Science: A huge part of project work involves getting out into the community and learning from other experts already engaged in similar work. When doing research on other schools who were tackling food waste in the cafeteria, second graders discovered a great expert at Beech Grove Middle School. Sam Lawrence was featured in a newspaper article, which highlighted his middle schoolers’ work to reduce school food waste by building a set of gardens and a large-scale compost system. Our second graders were able to take a field trip to Beech Grove Middle School to get a firsthand tour from Sam Lawrence. They learned about some of the successes and challenges his middle schoolers had faced when beginning their own project on food waste.
      Quantifying Our Food Waste

      Community; Collaboration; Science: A huge part of project work involves getting out into the community and learning from other experts already engaged in similar work. When doing research on other schools who were tackling food waste in the cafeteria, second graders discovered a great expert at Beech Grove Middle School. Sam Lawrence was featured in a newspaper article, which highlighted his middle schoolers’ work to reduce school food waste by building a set of gardens and a large-scale compost system. Our second graders were able to take a field trip to Beech Grove Middle School to get a firsthand tour from Sam Lawrence. They learned about some of the successes and challenges his middle schoolers had faced when beginning their own project on food waste.

    • Math; Quantifying food waste takes a lot of brain power.  Our second graders work in teams during Math Workshop to get a better idea of our food waste data gathered after several weeks.  Using an open number line is just one way our students tackle the challenge of handling large amounts of data and making meaning from it.
      Quantifying Our Food Waste

      Math; Quantifying food waste takes a lot of brain power. Our second graders work in teams during Math Workshop to get a better idea of our food waste data gathered after several weeks. Using an open number line is just one way our students tackle the challenge of handling large amounts of data and making meaning from it.

    • Community; Presentation Skills; Social and Emotional Learning: At Orchard, our students see themselves as capable and confident learners, which means even second graders don’t hesitate to share their knowledge with outside experts, including Jim Poyser from Earth Charter Indiana. After a couple of months’ worth of work on food waste, second graders invited Jim Poyser to come meet with them to determine next steps for our project. After hearing our students present on their work, “Mr. Jim” decided to give us a big nudge in the right direction and asked Orchard’s second grade to participate in a national school food waste program sponsored by the World Wildlife Foundation and Kroger.
      World Wildlife Fund

      Community; Presentation Skills; Social and Emotional Learning: At Orchard, our students see themselves as capable and confident learners, which means even second graders don’t hesitate to share their knowledge with outside experts, including Jim Poyser from Earth Charter Indiana. After a couple of months’ worth of work on food waste, second graders invited Jim Poyser to come meet with them to determine next steps for our project. After hearing our students present on their work, “Mr. Jim” decided to give us a big nudge in the right direction and asked Orchard’s second grade to participate in a national school food waste program sponsored by the World Wildlife Foundation and Kroger.

    • With the World Wildlife Fund on their side, Orchard second graders share their data with other students at various town meetings here at the school, as well as participate in their first national school food waste audit. In case you forgot, these are second graders! Oh, the power of Progressive ed.
      Chapter 3: Second Graders Prepare to Share Their Data With the Larger Orchard Community

      With the World Wildlife Fund on their side, Orchard second graders share their data with other students at various town meetings here at the school, as well as participate in their first national school food waste audit. In case you forgot, these are second graders! Oh, the power of Progressive ed.

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