Soda Bottle Compost: Nutrient Cycling in Action

 Author:  Amanda Coleman

AreaLife Sciences 

 Grade Level: 6-12


Soil and earthworms are both typically familiar to students because, if for an other reason, young children like to dig and play in the dirt. However, students tend to view dirt without much thought about the degree life forms present. Furthermore, they intuitively know that dead bodies, and other organic matter, break down and eventually will "disappear" if buried or even left on the surface.

             They generally are unaware of what happens to decomposed organic material nor understand its role in soil formation and enrichment. 


Wildlife is an important contributor to healthy ecosystems. In this case, earthworms enrich a growing medium, soil. The major purpose for this activity is for students to recognize one example of the kinds of significant contributions to wildlife. Students will measure soil nutrient capacity by performing simple tests to determine the amount of phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium, as well as the pH of the soil.



National Standards:

Content Standard C     Life Sciences

  • Population and Ecosystems.

State Standards    Grades 7 and 8

Strand 1    Inquiry Process

Concept 2  Scientific Testing

POs 1-5

Strand 2     History and Nature of Science

Concept 2: Nature of Scientific Knowledge

PO 3. Grade 7 and 8

Grade 7 only

Strand 4 Life Sciences

Concept 3 Population Of Organisms in an Ecosystem



Lesson Plan (pdf / doc)