The SCAers like to take advantage of bringing the natural world into the classroom. That is exactly what we did this week with our slimy friends. But before I introduce you to our friends you have to learn about them just like the fourth graders.
This week was all about what’s going on with a decomposing fallen tree. Now a larger fallen tree was far too heavy to roll into the classroom, but with a little creativity, imagination and cardboard anything is possible.
This authentic log represents a tree that has fallen on the forest floor. Instead of becoming useless, the fallen tree actually starts to create a micro ecosystem that animals and organisms need in order to survive. We explained to the students that there are three types of organism that will interact with this micro-ecosystem; producers, consumers and decomposers.
Producers (plants) use energy from the sun to produce their own food.
Consumers (animals or people) eat other plants and animals for energy.
Decomposers (fungus or worms) break down dead plants and animals.
Students were able to understand the different types of organisms that interact with a fallen tree and what their roles are by participating in the Three Corners of Decomp activity. Each SCAer would stand at different corners of the classroom wearing a sign that read producer, consumer or decomposer.
We conducted the game as if these organisms were coming to a hotel and the class had to sort them out into their proper rooms. For instance there would be a knock at the door and Mr. Fungus would come into the lobby requesting a room. The students had to show us where Mr. Fungus belongs by walking over the right SCAer. If there was a split decision we would have the class discuss why the Mr. Fungus belongs in the decomposer corner.
After our spiel about the three different types of organisms (producers, consumers and decomposers) that use this fallen tree the fourth graders were inching to see what was inside of the log. Say hello to Mr. Worm!
The students discovered that worms are decomposers who like to live in fallen trees to help them break down and turn into healthy soil for more trees to grow. It was relieving to know that students understood the role worms play according to their journal reflections. We thought this would be the perfect time to introduce Mr. Worm’s slimy friends.
The worms were so excited to meet the touchy fourth graders; they were practically jumping off the paper with joy! Or did they see this as an opportunity to escape? Good thing the SCAers were pacing the classroom to make sure some of the worms did not suddenly turn into two worms.
We need to step up our game for next week’s lesson. After hanging out with our slimy worm friends the students were requesting that we bring in bigger live animals. Oooooooo boy do they have a surprise in store when the SCAers get their hands on the furbear kit. Until next time!