A Biodegradable project for schools

by Sam Goodfellow
& Kim Brady

Introduction:

As we live in an ever-changing world and a throwaway society, items are often thrown away with little care or consideration for the environment.  The soil is an important aspect of an ecosystem providing an environment for plants to grow in, by anchoring roots and nutrients, filtering and cleaning our water, as well as helping to prevent natural hazards such as flooding. We want to start a project with local schools to observe items commonly thrown away by school children and look at how long it takes for items to biodegrade.

This is an ongoing project by Mike Raine who teaches climbing and mountaineering in the mountains of North Wales. He works for Plas y Brenin and The Outdoor Partnership.  On 9th March he put an apple core plus orange and banana skins in an open cage on the hillside to see how long it would take them to biodegrade and he’s been tweeting photos of what’s happening to them on a regular basis.

Equipment:

Hanging basket x2, Camping pegs, Wooden peg, Laminated sign to display and Items thrown away e.g., orange peel, banana skin, food containers, tissue paper, chewing gum

Method:

1. Select suitable area to place the hanging baskets for the biodegradable project – sheltered spot

2. Select common items thrown away by students to use in the project

3. Place items under the upturned hanging basket and secure to the ground with three camping pegs.

4. Monitor the site every week and record the level of degradation, either by taking photos, making a diary, recording a video for each week or measuring the initial weight of each object and the final weight.

Share your results with us via the Biojoyversity website (https://biojoyversity.org/), and see what happens! https://www.walklakes.co.uk/opus39168.html and https://www.mikeraine.co.uk/

Watch the introductory video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qZExMu01Ts

Experiment 1

Observe week 1 results: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/1X5RMd7zlq4

Observe week 2 results;https://www.youtube.com/shorts/fXpYs0V78DM

Observe week 6 results: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/qhQDTO1fwuQ

Observe results after 3 months https://youtube.com/shorts/DtH1IvC8LvE

Observe results after 6 months https://youtube.com/shorts/YNnY-vDtVZ0?

Experiment 2

Observe results after 1 month https://youtube.com/shorts/qKUqpF2KBj8

Observe results after 4 months

Thanks to Mike Raine for his inspiration

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About Sam

Sam is a Biology Teacher at Simon Langton Grammar School for Girls.

About Kim Brady

Kim is a Biology teacher at Simon Langton Girls' school and is investigating soil biodiversity in collaboration with the University of Kent.

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