Got Dirt?
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Identify specific learning objectives from the academic core curriculum that are being applied in the service-learning project.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      3. Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      4. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate the skills needed for the successful performance of the volunteer job.
      5. Benchmark E.5 Articulate and demonstrate the safety procedures that are part of the volunteer experience.
    3. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a service plan.
    4. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.

Students use what they learned about composting to plan and develop a service plan that meets a need related to food waste and environmental stewardship. They reflect on the impact of their service and share that with peers and/or families.

PrintThree 45-Minute Class Periods, Plus Time for the Service Project

The learner will:

  • come to a consensus with classmates on a service project related to food waste.
  • create a plan of action and complete the service project.
  • reflect on the impact of their project.
  • share the results of their service with peers and/or family.
  • materials depend on service project selected and planned by the class
  • teacher copy of Handout One: Planning a Service Project to use as a model for a display board
Bibliography:  Site that can add examples of  using a compost garbage can  as well as what can be used in composting Link to directions for simple compost pail and how to make your own compost pile

  1. Day One

    Anticipatory Set:

    Read aloud an additional literature book or show additional videos suggested in Lesson Two.

  2. Hold a class discussion, using the list of brainstormed projects from Lesson Two,to come to consensus on a plan for a service project related to composting food waste.

  3. Display the Planning a Service Project chart (Handout One). Working as a class, fill in all the sections to plan the service project. If the plan involves creating compost, the plan could also include strategies for using the finished compost in service. (For example, planting seeds in compost to plant flower seeds to grow flowers to donate to a senior care facility).

  4. Day Two

  5. Create a class newsletter explaining the project and asking for volunteers and needed supplies. Distribute the newsletter to other classes as well as to school families.

  6. Reflect on the progress of the project and adjust expectations, timelines, and roles, as needed.

  7. Teacher Note: If the class-selected project is to create a school compost pile for lunch room food waste, it should include these steps:

  8. Survey school yard and identify a location for the compost.

  9. Get administrator's approval for compost location.

  10. Place the food and yard waste collected in the compost area.

  11. Engage volunteers (students, families,and staff) to collect food waste and add to the compost pile on a regular schedule.

  12. Arrange for the long-term care of the compost pile (turning the pile, adding "ingredients" as needed, etc.).

  13. Determine a use for the finished compost product at the end of the school year.

  14. Day Three (after the service project is completed)

  15. Reflection Activity: From a very large square or rectangle of bulletin board paper, cut out a variety of jigsaw puzzle shapes. Be sure that each student in the classroom gets at least one of these puzzle pieces. Have each student choose to write and/or draw a response to one of these prompts on their puzzle piece:

  16. What I did for this service project; How I felt about participating in this service project; How the service project made a difference in my home, school or community

  17. Working as a group, reconstruct the puzzle with each learner explaining their puzzle-piece writing and/or drawing as its added. Once the puzzle has been completed, display the complete puzzle under the heading, “Solving the Food Waste Issue."

  18. As a class, write a newsletter to be distributed to the school population and/or families that includes summaries of the ideas generated for the puzzle pieces in response to the three prompts.


Assessment can be made on evidence of student learning through the puzzle-piece discussion about what they have learned about composting and taking better care of our environment, especially noting use of appropriate new vocabulary. A teacher created vocabulary and composting fact quiz may also be used.