Learning Goal # 1:

When you’re done this lesson you will be able to: identify plant and animal wastes, and describe how they are recycled in nature. (For example,

The Nature Waste Hunt

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Click on this icon for a free student record sheet.

Welcome to the Nature Waste Hunt!  Today we’re heading outdoors to explore nature.  You’re going to need The Ultimate Waste Hunt  record sheet, a pencil, and a magnifying glass.

You have two jobs while on this hunt.

Job #1: You will have 10 minutes to go outside  explore a natural area. In that time, try to find as many different plants and animals or other creatures as you can. Record their names, or draw them (if you don’t know their name), on your record sheet.

Job # 2: Next you’ll have another ten minutes to explore the same area.  In that time, try to find as many examples of  “waste” left by the animals and plants as you can.   Then record all the examples you find on your record sheet.

After the hunt, meet back in the classroom to talk about:

Share some examples of plants you found.

Share some examples of animals or insects you found.

Share some examples of plant waste you found.

Share some examples of animal or other creatures waste you found.

How do you think all that waste goes away?

Dworm 2id you know that some of the creatures you found may help get rid of waste in nature?  Plant leaves serve as a source of food for soil insects, worms, and other creatures. The wastes of these animals may then be further broken down by molds, fungi, and bacteria.  These tiny creatures that break down waste are called decomposers.

Let’s take a closer look at decomposers in this video!