Learning about biodegradable & non-biodegradable materials seems difficult, but if you build the subject into real-world learning, it takes no time at all.
There are moments when Miss Possum will ask me a question and I’ll step back and remember that her little mind is still filling up with information every single day. Today she picked up a leaf, examined it and asked ‘what happened to the leaf?’
To you and me, that leaf is just decomposing and becoming the earth, it’s biodegradable. To her, something devastating was happening to the leaf. It was no longer green and pretty anymore but dry, dead, and broken. I can’t believe I hadn’t taught her about biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials until now.
Learning about biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials
Her question was the perfect learning opportunity to jump in and start the process of learning. It’s always so much easier when they take the first step.
So, on our way back home from our regular walk, we discussed what around us was biodegradable.
First, we tried to find leaves that would show different stages of decomposition, and then we put them in order of decay. We discussed that these leaves are biodegradable because it
Then, we looked at sticks to see if they were biodegradable. Again, we put a number of sticks in order to see the stages of decay.
I asked Miss possum questions like, what would help a stick or leaf biodegrade faster. I supported her by asking if weather, worms, bugs and fungi (as seen on the stick) would help organic matter biodegrade at a faster rate.
Once we came home, we looked at items that weren’t biodegradable or that took a very long time to biodegrade. We talked about plastic and why it doesn’t biodegrade like organic matter.
To see if Miss Possum understood our chat, I set her a challenge to find four materials around our yard that were biodegrade and four materials around our yard that weren’t biodegradable. She did really well.
Talking about biodegradable and nonbiodegradable materials was the perfect opportunity to bring up waste and how it’s affecting our environment but this time I didn’t. I could see that Miss Possum was starting to lose interest so I’m keeping that conversation for a later time.
I don’t think we’ll have any problem with bringing up the topic again. For the last couple of days, she’s been telling me what’s biodegradable and what isn’t around our house. It’s a good reminder to keep me on track to reduce the waste we use and replace, what I can, with items that a biodegradable. Stay tuned for the next waste post.
Do you have any other great ideas to help teach your child about biodegradable materials? Or any ideas on how I can teach Miss Possum about how non-biodegradable materials affect the environment?