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Lunch Munchers Education Kit This kit has been prepared for NSW primary schools to develop school-based worm composting and recycling programs June 2009

Tammy Small and Kelly McCulloch

Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority

Wally the Worm

Our Commitment to Education Education and Extension is seen by the Border RiversGwydir Catchment Management Authority (BR-G CMA) as the key approach for achieving long term attitudinal change and on ground implementation of good resource management practice in the catchment. Students passing through the school and TAFE system are at the stage of their life when they are actively learning, developing attitudes and ideas which they will carry into their adult life. By supporting schools (Principals, teachers and students) the CMA can deliver material that may well influence the decisions of future land managers. Local schools provide a focus for many small rural communities throughout the catchment. Through supporting these schools the CMA is reaching the wider community. The CMA is committed to providing the young people of our catchment with a greater access to environmental education.

Our Catchment The Border Rivers - Gwydir region consists of two major catchments and many smaller sub-catchments. These are the Border Rivers (which extends north into Queensland) and the Gwydir. Both catchments are located within the headwaters of the Murray-Darling Basin. We all live in a catchment, small or large, and what we do in the catchment ultimately affects everyone. You can make a difference now to benefit your children’s future.

© Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority 2009 Title: Lunch Munchers Education Kit Published by: Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority, through funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country program. First printed: April 2009 Reprinted: June 2009 Research, development and compilation: Tammy Small, Kelly McCulloch Prepared for publication: Kelly McCulloch Acknowledgements: Melissa Bindley, Tamara Kelly, Drew McCudden, Peter Coleman, Liz Blair, Sally Croker, David Owen (Principal of Yetman Public School), Marian Thatcher (Principal of North Star Public School).

This book has been prepared for the express purpose of a school resource; however, the Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority retains copyright ownership of the material. The reproduction of each worksheet in quantities sufficient for class use is encouraged, subject to the following conditions: 1.

All copies made must retain the footer ‘Lunch Munchers - Border Rivers Gwydir CMA, 2009’;


Copies are not to be stored electronically without written permission of the Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority;


Reproduction is permissible in part or whole provided that the meaning is not changed;


Except where permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, reproduction for any other purpose without the Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority written permission is prohibited.

ISBN: 978-0-9804706-6-6 Further infromation about the Lunch Munchers Education Kit can be accessed from the Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority. Inverell Office Ph: 02 6728 8020 15 Vivian Street Inverell NSW 2360

Moree Office Ph: 02 6757 2555 63 Frome Street Moree NSW 2400



lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009


background Lunch Munchers History

Lunch Munchers Logo

The Lunch Munchers program was originally developed and run in Yelarbon Public School (QLD) by Inglewood Landcare Officer, Tammy Small.

During the pilot, a competition was held with the students to develop a logo for the Lunch Munchers program. The winning logo was developed by Georgia King, a student from Yetman Public School. Wally the Worm was named by Alex Francis, a student from North Star Public School.

Funding was sought by the Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority in 2007 to run the same program with Yetman and North Star Public Schools (NSW) in 2007. From this pilot, the Lunch Munchers program was refined and published, producing this education kit. The following material is targeted at NSW students in Stages 2 and 3.



lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

contents background




how to use this kit


W3-2 W3-3 W3-4 W3-5

syllabus outcomes


section 4: the garden


section 1: 5 R’s


A4-1 A4-2 A4-3 A4-4 W4-1 W4-2 W4-3 W4-4 W4-5 W4-6 W4-7

66 68 72 74 76 77 78 79 80 81 82

A1-1 A1-2 A1-3 A1-4 A1-5 A1-6 A1-7 W1-1 W1-2 W1-3

What is rubbish? What is organic waste? Types of composting School Waste & Recycling Program  Waste Audit Waste Free Day  Natures Own Recycling  Rubbish Relay Waste Audit The Nutrient Cycle

9 10 12 13 14 17 18 20 22 26

section 2: biodiversity


A2-1 A2-2 A2-5 A2-6 W2-1 W2-2 W2-3 W2-4 W2-5 W2-6 W2-7

29 30 33 34 35 37 38 39 40 41 42

Biodiversity Study Food Webs Observing nature Nest building Biodiversity Study Adaptations Everyone is Different Food Chains Bird Observations Lizard Lounge Bird Nests

section 3: worms


A3-1 A3-2 A3-3 A3-4 A3-5 W3-1

50 52 54 55 56 58

Worm anatomy Worm life cycle Worm Houses Preparing the Bedding Feeding your worms Basic Worm Anatomy

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Worms Up Close Life Cycle Experiment Layer Cake Worm Weights Create your garden Plant Biology Collecting Your Seeds Sowing the Seeds Frog Pond Garden Design Parts of a Flower Pollination Match How does my seed spread? Storing Seeds Plant Propagation

59 61 63 64

section 5: community


A5-1 Tell everyone about worms Further Suggestions

84 85



further resources


evaluation form


worksheet answers





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introduction We live in a world that is becoming increasingly polluted. As a result educators in today’s society are responsible for leading students in the quest to live sustainably.

There are a number of factors to consider before commencing a worm composting program and any subsequent gardens that you build. •

Cost: Building a worm composting program will depend on the resources that you already have. You might like to advertise in your school’s newsletter to ask for donations of the materials that you require.

Through the Lunch Munchers Program students will learn to use all five R’s in ensuring a sustainable future. Worm farming is an ideal way for students to get hands-on experience in reusing waste within the school.

School Security: Some schools suffer from constant vandalism. If this is you, then you will need to consider where your worm farm is located so that it is safe.

Students will be able to take home their new found knowledge and show their parents what they have learnt in a bid to help their homes become sustainable.

Location: Worms require a shady place to live, and ideally your worm houses and gardens should be together. Also if you want to avoid breakout, then consider an enclosed container.

Holidays: Worms don’t take holidays, but schools do. Consider how the worms are going to be fed over the holidays. You could send boxes of worms’ home with responsible families for a holiday. Turn it into something fun and have photos taken of the worms on holiday as well as keeping a journal of what they got up to.

Safety: If your students are not wearing gloves then it is imperative that they wash their hands with soap, and under their fingernails with a nail brush. This stops the spread of bacteria and fungi.

Schools are an ideal place for students to learn about the 5 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse, and Rethink. The emphasis being on rethink - as we all have to look at the way that we live and ultimately reduce the waste that we leave behind. With creativity and planning this is possible.

With the strain on landfill sites it is imperative that we all do our best to reduce the unnecessary wastage that is in these areas. Food scraps are the most common form of waste that can be reduced. The Lunch Munchers program has been developed to show students and teachers alike just how easy reducing waste can be.

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how to use this kit The Lunch Munchers Education Kit has been divided up into 5 sections: Section 1: 5 R’s

Section Layout - example Section 3: Worms

Section 2: Biodiversity


Section 3: Worms

A3-1 Worm anatomy

Section 4: In the Garden

A3-2 Worm life cycle

Section 5: Community Action Each section is then broken down further into the activities and worksheets. Activities and Worksheets are numbered according to the section and order they appear in the kit (see example). Relevant worksheets have been identified in the activities for easy referencing. All syllabus outcomes have been located at the beginning of the document. By undertaking this education program, you will be covering all listed outcomes. If you wish to only use a portion of the available activities, then you will need to determine which outcomes from those listed are relevant.

A3-3 Worm Houses A3-4 Preparing the Bedding A3-5 Feeding your worms Student Worksheets: W3-1 Basic Worm Anatomy W3-2 Worms Up Close W3-3 Life Cycle Experiment W3-4 Layer Cake W3-5 Worm Weights

This kit has been designed as an introduction to a larger variety of activities on recycling, biodiversity, worms and how you can apply these themes in the school or home garden. To expand upon these activities refer to the resources listed in the back of this kit.


how to use this kit

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syllabus outcomes The activities included in the Lunch Munchers Education Kit have been developed to align with the following listed NSW K-6 syllabus outcomes. It is the responsibility of the teacher to determine which activity will be best suited to their classroom requirements and individual students’ outcomes.

English Talking and Listening - Talking and Listening TS2.1 Communicates in informal and formal classroom activities in school and social situations for an increasing range of purposes on a variety of topics across the curriculum. TS3.1 Communicates effectively for a range of purposes and with a variety of audiences to express well-developed, well-organised ideas dealing with more challenging topics. Talking and Listening - Skills and Strategies TS2.2 Interacts effectively in groups and pairs, adopting a range of roles, uses a variety of media and uses various listening strategies for different situations. TS3.2 Interacts productively and with autonomy in pairs and groups of various sizes and composition, uses

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effective oral presentation skills and strategies and listens attentively. Reading - Reading and Viewing Texts RS2.5 Reads independently a wide range of texts on increasingly challenging topics and justifies own interpretation of ideas, information and events. RS3.5 Reads independently an extensive range of texts with increasing content demands and responds to themes and issues. Writing - Handwriting and Computer Technology WS3.12 Produces texts in a fluent and legible style and uses computer technology to present these effectively in a variety of ways.

Maths Number - Whole Numbers NS2.1 Counts, orders, reads and records numbers up to four digits. Number - Multiplication and Division NS2.3 Uses mental and informal written strategies for multiplication and division.

syllabus outcomes


Data - Data DS2.1 Gathers and organises data, displays data using tables and graphs, and interprets the results. Measurement - Length MS2.1 Estimates, measures, compares and records lengths, distances and perimeters in metres, centimetres and millimetres. MS3.1 Selects and uses the appropriate unit and device to measure lengths, distances and perimeters. Measurement - Mass MS2.4 Estimates, measures, compares and records masses using kilograms and grams. MS3.4 Selects and uses the appropriate unit measuring device to find the mass of objects.

Human Society and Its Environment Environments - Relationship with Places ENS2.6 Describes people’s interactions with environments and identifies responsible ways of interacting with environments.


syllabus outcomes

ENS3.6 Explains how various beliefs and practices influence the ways in which people interact with, change and value their environment.

Science and Technology Content - Living Things LTS2.3 Identifies and describes the structure and function of living things and ways in which living things interact with other living things and their environment. LTS3.3 Identifies, describes and evaluates the interactions between living things and their effects on the environment. Processes - Investigating INVS2.7 Conducts investigations by observing, questioning, predicting, testing, collecting, recording and analysing data, and drawing conclusions. INVS3.7 Conducts their own investigations and makes judgements based on the results of observing, questioning, planning, predicting, testing, collecting, recording and analysing data, and drawing conclusions.

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Processes - Designing

Skills - Interacting

DMS2.8 Develops, implements and evaluates ideas using drawings, models and prototypes at appropriate stages of the design process.

INS2.3 Makes positive contributions in group activities.

DMS3.8 Develops and resolves a design task by planning, implementing managing and evaluating design processes. Processes - Using Technology UTS2.9 Selects and uses a range of equipment, computer-based technology, materials and other resources with developing skill to enhance investigation and design tasks. UTS3.9 Evaluates, selects and uses a range of equipment, computer-based technology, materials and other resources to meet the requirements and constraints of investigation and design tasks.

Personal Development, Health and Physical Exercise Skills - Communicating COS2.1 Uses a variety of ways to communicate with and within groups.

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INS3.3 Acts in ways that enhance the contribution of self and others in a range of cooperative situations. Skills - Moving MOS2.4 Displays a focus on quality of movement in applying movement skills to a variety of familiar and new situations. Skills - Problem Solving PSS2.5 Uses a range of problem-solving strategies. PSS3.5 Suggests, considers and selects appropriate alternatives when resolving problems. Content - Personal Health Choices PHS2.12 Discusses the factors influencing personal health choices. PHS3.12 Explains the consequences of personal lifestyle choices. Content - Safe Living SLS2.13 Discusses how safe practices promote personal well-being.


SLS3.13 Describes safe practices that are appropriate to a range of situations and environments.

Creative Arts Music - Performing MUS2.1 Sings, plays and moves to a range of music, demonstrating a basic knowledge of musical concepts. MUS3.1 Sings, plays and moves to a range of music, individually and in groups, demonstrating a knowledge of musical concepts.


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section 1: 5 R’s This program is to help schools introduce the concepts of recycling in a fun way. While doing so, students will learn about what ‘rubbish’ is. Students will also discover that rubbish is more than just landfill. They will be able to see what is recyclable, reusable, and refusable. By doing this, students will begin to understand how to reduce waste not only at school but in their homes as well. Activities in this book have been trialled by public schools in the Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment. Most schools now have the facilities for recycling near by and we encourage them to be used if at all possible. Uneaten food in schools is seen as rubbish by students, and therefore thrown into rubbish bins to become landfill. By making use of the lunch munchers program, pupils can turn a wasted resource to a reusable product. Using composting worms allows most food waste to be turned into compost which can be used on the garden or sold to the broader community. Most organic things can be composted and reused but there are exceptions to this rule that are explained in the activities that are included in this book.

How much paper does your school throw into landfill bins? If you did a paper audit you would be amazed at how much of these landfill bins are full of paper. Paper can be reused, recycled, reduced, and refused. With a little creativity you can reduce your school’s waste of paper immensely. Once all organic waste is composted the only real rubbish is noncompostable plastics and foil. This program will work if an individual teacher is running it, but will be more efficient if it is a whole school approach with teachers, students and parents. It is the perfect opportunity to involve the outside community such as Catchment Management Authorities, Landcare and garden clubs to name a few.

Plastics are another area of high wastage in schools that are thrown into landfill. It must be noted that not all plastic is recyclable through local channels and some thought has to go into the recycling of these. The activities that are included help students to see how these can be reused or recycled.

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section 1: 5 R’s


5 R’s of Recycling Reduce

You should try as much as possible to reduce the amount of waste that you produce.


You can reuse anything that has another purpose. It just takes a little thinking. For example yogurt containers to plant pots.


You can recycle waste that you do not have another use for.


Refuse things like plastic shopping bags, or other things that have other options. For example cling wrap can be eliminated by people using reusable plastic containers for lunch such as sandwich keepers.


As a community we should rethink ways to reuse and recycle what has already been produced. Rethinking includes using the above options before purchasing.


section 1: 5 R’s

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A1-1 What is rubbish? Overview This activity encourages students to think about what they are currently doing with their rubbish. It can be played inside or out. It is run as a relay in an individual class or as a whole school activity as a competition between classes.

Materials Templates of all the cut-outs are located in W1-1 (p 20). •

Cardboard cut-outs of ‘rubbish’ items (some examples provided)

Large cut out of compost bin or worm farm

Large cut out of landfill rubbish bin

Large cut out of recycling bin

Large cut out of poison symbol

“5 R’s of Recycling” fact sheet (p 8)

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Instructions Rubbish Relay •

Divide class into two groups.

As this is a relay game you have all the bins at one end of the room and the two lines of students down the other end.

The players take turns to run down the end of the room and place their piece of rubbish in the bin that it belongs.

The player then runs back to their team and tags another player, who then runs to deliver their rubbish to the right bin.

The game continues until all the cut outs of rubbish have gone to the bins and the first team sitting down wins.

Sitting in a circle, start to sort the ‘rubbish’. Go through one item at a time and discuss where the best possible place for it to be is and why. For example, the apple core that is in the land fill bin should be in the worm farm so that it can be reused.

5 R’s Poster •

Provide students with the “5 R’s of Recycling” fact sheet.

Give students the task of creating a series of posters for the school that focus on each of the 5 R’s of Recycling.

section 1: 5 R’s


A1-2 What is organic waste?

Materials •

bags for collection of organic materials


exercise books or paper

leaf litter


magnifying glass

paper/cardboard used for a claendar (use an old calendar as a reference)

calendar months and days (these can be downloaded from the Internet or produced using programs like MS Word)

This activity is designed to provide students with a greater understanding of the value of green and organic waste materials in the environment, and the ways people can assist nature in recycling and replenishing the soil. Students investigate the green and organic components of the school grounds and other gardens. The term ‘Organic’ has many definitions like: cellular structure is carbon based, something that was once living, free of chemicals etc... Organic (or green) Waste is anything that was or is living, and it includes: •

Garden waste: Leaves, grass clippings, branches, hay, flowers, sawdust, woodchips and bark.

Food waste: Fruit, vegetables, tea, bread, cereals, eggshells, grains, meat, dairy products.

Other: paper, animal hair, faeces, vacuum cleaner dust, hair, wool, wood ash.

Instructions As a class, mind map everything that can be associated with the term ‘organic’ and ‘organic waste’. Take students outside and explore the differences between an empty block (e.g. school oval or basketball court) and a garden bed. Talk about all the organic waste that can be found in both locations. Collect different organic waste from both sites and complete the following activities. Activity 1: Display the differences between the two sites in books, collages, illustrations, or charts to show the relationships between the different items.


section 1: 5 R’s

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Activity 2: Examine and discuss where individual items come from, what use/s they have. For example: •

a fallen leaf comes from a tree

the leaf provides mulch to the tree which helps to reduce water loss

it breaks down (decomposes) and releases nutrients back to the soil

the tree uses those nutrients to help grow more leaves

Students should write a story or poem and present it back to the class. Activity 3: Collect some leaf litter and topsoil and use a magnifying glass to observe creatures and particles within it. Talk about whether the topsoil is organic. Imagine being a soil scientist looking at a soil sample and suddenly an amazing find is made. Draw the organism you have discovered and give it a name. Activity 4: Produce a calendar with 12 reasons to look after and use green and organic waste materials in gardens.

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section 1: 5 R’s


A1-3 Types of composting Overview There are three main types of composting: Hot Compost: uses heat to help things decompose; things do decompose a lot quicker using this method. Cold Compost: uses nature to decompose slowly. Worm Composting: uses compost worms to do all the work. They munch right through all the organic waste that is given to them.

Materials •

W1-1 Rubbish Relay

Internet access


section 1: 5 R’s

Instructions Using the internet and school library have students find out all they can about the three types of composting and design their own composting systems. You might like to do this as group work with students in three groups. They each have one type of composting to investigate. Try asking the students these questions during their research: •

What type of compost is it?

What does it compost?

How does it decompose in the compost heap?

Why would you use this type of composting system?

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A1-4 School Waste & Recycling Program Overview To set up a successful school waste and recycling program you will need to obtain support from the school principal. Discuss how the program can reduce costs for the school by lowering its disposal costs. Appoint a recycling coordinator, teacher, class or club to implement the program. The most successful programs have students, teachers, principals, administrators and parents who are willing to help. Conduct a waste audit (see A1-5) to determine waste composition and volume of materials going to landfill. Identify how much could be recycled, reused and reduced. It is a good idea to choose one or two materials for reuse or recycling to start your new program, such as cardboard or mixed paper. Once your program is functioning smoothly, expand your program to include more recyclable materials. Determine where recycling bins should be placed around the school based upon what the audit has determined. Recycling bins need to have rubbish receptacles next to them or your

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recycling containers may be used for garbage. As a result of your new recycling program, you will find that recyclables are no longer ending up in a landfill. You may find that your school is now able to reduce the size or quantity of the waste collection bins or to lower the frequency that garbage is collected at your school. Not only will you save money for your school, you will be educating your students on the value of caring for our community and environment.

Instructions Find out about how waste and recyclables are collected and what happens to them. Invite the local council or regional waste authority to talk to your class about waste and recycling. Take a visit to your nearest recycling centre/rubbish tip. Students can create signs to place on bins and around the school to promote the recycling program. Students conduct monthly waste audits so they can graph the success of the school waste and recylcing program. This information can be shared with the community through local media.

section 1: 5 R’s


A1-5 Waste Audit Overview What exactly does your school throw away? Have you ever wondered how much waste your school produces? A waste audit can help you find out how much, and what type of waste, is generated. The audit will tell you how you can improve your school’s efficiency and therefore help the environment. Environmental Audits are recommended in the NSW Environmental Education Policy for Schools (2001).

If the waste audit reveals that most of the waste stream is made up of packaging then the school can develop strategies to reduce the amount of packaging coming into the school. If the waste is mainly paper then perhaps a campaign of re-use and recycling paper would be appropriate. If the waste is mainly organics then the school could consider a worm farm or perhaps some chooks (depending on the type being generated).


In one day students can conduct a waste audit. Using the normal safety precautions, go through the school’s rubbish bins and catalogue the findings as outlined in this activity.



thick gloves

protective eye glasses

What will a waste audit tell us?

suitable sturdy footwear

The aim of this activity is to find out the amount and make up of waste generated at the school.



labelled buckets

Large quantities of waste are generated every day in a school. Much of this waste is unnecessary and could be re-used or recycled. It is important to work out exactly how much and what sort of waste the school generates and this will give valuable data. From this data the school can develop a plan to reduce the waste to landfill.

aprons and goggles (if desired)

data collection sheets

empty playground garbage bins

dust-pan, brush and a broom

W1-2 Waste Audit (p 22)


section 1: 5 R’s

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Record results using W1-2 (p 22)

Pick a day for the audit. On the day:

Once the data is collected, it can be organised into graphs or spread sheets. The results will need to be analysed to determine the amount and nature of the waste in the school.

Lay out a tarp for sorting waste.

Line up labelled buckets on the tarp.

Set up desks and chairs for students to record the data.

Place the scales on a flat surface.

Divide the audit team into 4 groups (weighers, sorters, recorders and monitors).

The results will allow students and staff to identify the nature of the waste and then to develop some strategies for reducing waste. These might include: •

re-use and recycling of paper and paper products;

more efficient use of paper or using alternative methods of communication e.g. email or voice mail rather than notes and letters;

repair of equipment;

collection of organic matter for a worm farm, compost bin or chicken coup;

reduced packaging in lunch boxes and the canteen;

low waste lunch days;

If anyone sees glass, sharps, bees or any other potentially dangerous items they should move away and report it to the Audit Leader.

an incentive scheme for low waste lunches; and

“Waste as Art” competitions.

Start sorting waste and continue to sort, weigh and record until all waste and recycling has been measured.


Organisers bring waste and recycling from storage, classrooms and offices to the audit area. Reinforce safety considerations with the audit team and ensure they are wearing sunscreen, hats, gloves and lace-up or slip-on shoes or boots. Emphasise that GLOVES AND TONGS ONLY are to touch waste.

Swap jobs so everyone experiences different roles (if desired).

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Graph your results of the school waste audit. Ask students to conduct a survey

section 1: 5 R’s


of school-wide attitudes towards reducing, reusing, recycling and rotting waste. Some of the questions may be:

or recycle at all (if they are currently not recycling)?

Do you recycle everything that you can?

Discuss, analyze, and brainstorm plans to improve participation.

Would you recycle an aluminium can in a recycling bin if it was located a few feet away, or would you put it in the trash can, which might be closer?

If you are not recycling, why not?

What would it take to get you to recycle more?

Do you make double-sided copies?

Do you make your own lunch?

If you do make your own lunch, do you put your lunch in reusable containers?

Do you have a compost bin?

Compile the result of your survey and share it with your school. How can you educate each other and the rest of the school in order to reduce/re-use/recycle materials? How many people say they are recycling regularly? How many say they are not? What are their reasons for not recycling, and what do they say would convince them to recycle more (if they are now recycling less than they could)


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A1-6 Waste Free Day Overview A waste free day is a great whole school activity. Have a competition between classes to see who has the least amount of ‘rubbish’ on a given day. Leading up to the competition students could make posters displaying what the competition is for, the prize, and date.

No Waste Lunch at School Did you know that if you have a lunch that has a lot of disposable packaging, you create between 100-250 grams of garbage everyday? That can add up to as much as 89 kg per year! Pack a no-waste lunch for school with these tips: •

Use a lunch box or reusable bag.

Put food in reusable food and drink containers.

If you must use a disposable plastic bag wash it out and keep reusing it.

Purchase your snacks in bulk size and repack into individual reusable containers.

After lunch is over, weigh all the landfill buckets to see which class wins. As a reward they may be given extra play time, or a privilege that is fitting with the school.

Pack fresh fruit since it doesn’t require any additional packaging.

A template certificate is included for you to use (p 25).

Music class would be a great opportunity to make a jingle to promote the event. This could be used on radio to advertise what the school is doing. Use the song examples already provided on p 49 as inspiration.

Use recyclable or compostable materials rather than use those that are thrown away.

Start a vermicomposting (with worms) or composting program on your school site. You can compost almost all of your food waste except for fats, oils, meats, cheeses and dairy products, citrus and onions.

Instructions •

Each class is assigned a bucket to use instead of the normal landfill bin. All other waste is put into the proper bins e.g. worms, recyclable, reusable.

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Helpful hints for school tuck shops:

section 1: 5 R’s


A1-7 Natures Own Recycling Overview Humus, which is the decomposed leaves, twigs, dead micro organisms, dead animals such as insects etc, animal manures and other organic items, all contribute to the building of soils and health of plants. The microscopic organisms are mostly bacteria and fungi. Bacteria commence the decomposition of organic items naturally. Similar organic items plus food waste can be combined, in a controlled environment using the worm units or compost unit, to become compost which is then used by plants as nutrients for plant growth. There is a continual nutrient cycle, provided that the organisms are living. This requires some moisture. To observe humus, find a large shady treed area which has some ground cover, either grass or other plants. By moving the vegetation aside a little, the surface layer of soil will still be recognisable with leaves, twigs, and then at a slightly deeper level, this will change to totally decomposed organic matter, which is the humus.


section 1: 5 R’s

Humus will be rich in colour, and aids fertilising plants by holding moisture, making available nutrients that are already in the soils, neutralizing the pH of the soils plus many other functions. There will be no odour other than an earthy smell.

Materials •


Relevant literature books

W1-3 The Nutrient Cycle (p 26)

Craft materials and Crepe Paper

Instructions Activity 1 - Exploring Humus Start by exploring under the shade of a large tree. There should be some lawn or living ground cover plant life occurring. Instruct students to gently move ground cover plants aside, till the students can see the soil. On the very surface of this soil will be a combination of leaf litter, dead and alive insects, worms (annelids), caterpillars, grubs, twigs, and micro organisms. Some of the items are easily recognisable, others will be more decomposed. The students will make their own discoveries of individual organic items. Just slightly under the surface layer will be the next layer of organic items that will be even more decomposed. This is the humus; these will not be

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recognisable as identifiable or individual items. Pay particular attention and discuss the colour of this soil. It will be a rich brown colour and smell earthy. Point out at this time, that with the help of composting worms, you will be able to create your own humus-like material. Humus refers to nature’s result of converting organic materials.

Activity 2 - Nutrients in Literature If available, have students read “The Gift of a Tree” by Alvin Tresselt, “The Grandpa Tree” by Mike Donahue, or “A Log’s Life” by Wendy Pfeffer, and ask them to locate the parts of each book that describe or refer to the nutrient cycle. If these books are not available in your library, use a book that will be suitable for this exercise.

Ask students what is considered waste in nature. Leaves, animal droppings etc. Why are we not surrounded by nature’s waste? (Decomposers decompose waste.)

Activity 3 - Nutrient Cycle

Plants also create waste. What could this waste be? (Leaves, branches or flowers.)

Students can create their own classroom ecosystem by creating large producers, primary and secondary consumers and decomposers out of craft materials. For example, paper filled stockings for snakes, large cardboard trees, cellophane for grass, plush toys for animals etc...

Explain that when parts of plants fall off, these parts break down through the efforts of bacteria and fungi. The broken-down parts become part of the soil, providing nutrients to the tree, thereby continuing the nutirent cycle. Nutrients are used by plants growing in the area. Nutrients are chemical elements or compounds that an organism must take in to live, grow, and reproduce. Nutrients include proteins, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates and provide nourishment to sustain an organism.

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Using W1-3 (p 26) take students through the movement of nutrients through an ecosystem.

Use colourful crepe paper to show the flow of nutrients from one “link in the chain” to another. This activity can lead into futher discussions about food chain and food webs (see A2-2 p 30).

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W1-1 Rubbish Relay Enlarge these templates on a photocopier for the rubbish relay activity.

general rubbish bin

compost bin or worm farm



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junk food wrappers


disposable nappy

plastic can rings





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W1-2 Waste Audit Data Collection Sheet

Bucket Weight (kg)

Total Bucket and Waste Weight (kg)

Net Weight (kg)

Approx. Volume (L)

Origin of Waste

= Bucket - Total

20L bucket 240L Wheelie bin

e.g. classroom, playground

Mixed waste

e.g. chip packets, plastic wrap, textiles, ceramics

Recyclable containers

e.g. Pet bottles (1) HDPE Bottles (2) Liquid paperboard (poppers) Steel cans & metals Aluminium cans


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lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

Bucket Weight (kg)

Total Bucket and Waste Weight (kg)

Net Weight (kg)

Approx. Volume (L)

Origin of Waste

= Bucket - Total

20L bucket 240L Wheelie bin

e.g. classroom, playground

Organic material

e.g. paper and cardboard

Other organic materials

e.g. food and garden waste

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

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Waste Audit Summay Table 1: Results of Waste Audit (weight) Type of waste

Weight (kg) Recess




% of Total


Mixed Waste Recyclable containers Organic material Other organic material Total


Table 2: Waste Projections School population


Students and Staff

Total waste generated


kg per day


kg per week

D Waste generated per person


(= B x 5)

kg per year

(= C x 40 school weeks)

kg per person per year (= D ÷ A)

kg per person per term

(= E ÷ 4)

kg per person per week

(= F ÷ 10)

kg per person per day (= G ÷ 5 or = B ÷ A)

Table 3: Results of Waste Audit (volume) Type of waste


Volume (L) Lunch Rooms



% of Total

Mixed Waste Recyclable containers Organic material Other organic material Total



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lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

Waste Free Day Congratulations ______________________________ of class

______________________________ You are a winner in the Waste Free Day Competition! Keep up the Great Work!

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W1-3 The Nutrient Cycle


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Why are nutrients important?

How do nutrients move through this ecosystem?


(trees, grass, plants)


(animals that eat plants)



(fungi, insects, bacteria)

(animals that eat other animals)


Draw in the flow of nutrients in this ecosystem to complete the cycle. On a separate piece of paper create your own nutrient cycle and explain what happens.

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

section 2: biodiversity What is biodiversity? Biological diversity, or biodiversity, has been described as the ‘web of life’, ‘the variety of living things’ or ‘the different plants, animals and microorganisms, their genes and ecosystems of which they are a part’. Biodiversity encompasses every living thing that exists on our planet and the environment in which they live. From the smallest one-cell microbe to the enormous majesty of the blue whale. From the depths of the Pacific Ocean to peaks of our tallest mountains, biodiversity forms part of an intricate and interdependent web of life in which we are all a part. Australia is home to between 600,000 and 700,000 species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Approximately 84% of our plants, 83% of our mammals, and 45% of our birds are endemic - that is, they are only found in Australia. The marine environment is home to thousands of marine species, some of which are unique to Australia and all of which contribute to making Australia the most biodiversity rich developed country in the world.

Why is biodiversity important? Human beings are dependent for their sustenance, health, well-being

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and enjoyment of life on biodiversity. We derive all of our food and many medicines and industrial products from the wild and domesticated components of biodiversity. Biodiversity is the basis for much of our recreation and tourism, and includes the ecosystems which provide us with many services such as clean water.

How can you help protect biodiversity? There are a number of ways you can help protect biodiversity in your local area. Create a natural habitat in your school. Look at plants that are native to your region and help create a school sanctuary for local birds and wildlife. Get rid of weeds. What seems like a perfectly harmless plant can turn into a serious weed if it escapes into bushland. Check out what’s considered a weed in your part of the country at Be a responsible pet owner. If you can no longer keep your pet do not release it into the wild. This includes pet fish - do not flush them down the toilet or put them into local streams. Make sure your cat is de-sexed or either keep it indoors or invest in an outdoor cat run domestic cats can have a devastating effect on local wildlife.

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Reduce, reuse and recycle. Look at ways to reduce the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill and the waterways. Many things can now be recycled. For more information on what you can recycle in your local area go to Start your own compost bin. Organic matter like vegetable peelings which usually ends up landfill is great for your garden. Start composting and you can reduce the need for chemicals and fertilizers in the garden and improve the health of your soil. Only put water down the drains. Things like oils and chemicals may start at the kitchen sink but end up in our waterways and seas and can affect animals and plants living in streams and rivers. Instead of using commercial cleaning chemicals try using white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Climate change affects biodiversity. Find out more about climate change and protecting biodiversity by going to biodiversity.html.

For all this and more, visit:


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A2-1 Biodiversity Study Overview This activity will provide students with an opportunity to survey the amount of invertebrates in the school grounds. Invertebrates make up 99% of all living animal species and a major component of biodiveristy.

Materials •

2 small tin cans

chopsticks or wooden skewers

small trowel

sticky tape

leaf litter

W2-1 Biodiversity Study (p 35)

Join the chopsticks together using sticky tape and lay across the tin. Cover the chopsticks with leaves and grass and leave overnight. Repeat the process in an area of lawn and leave overnight.

The next day, compare the number and type of invertebrates that you have and use W2-1 (p 35) to collate your information. It would be expected that the pitfall in the lawn would trap less invertebrates than the pitfall where the leaf litter is found. The leaf litter creates an environment that offers shelter and food to small animals. Try to elicit this response from the students when they begin to compare their results.

Instructions This 24-hour survey will enable students to compare invertebrates that live in leaf litter with those that live on a lawn or oval. Students will make pitfall traps in the ground in areas where leaf litter is found and in the lawn in the school grounds. •

Select an area where there is a lot of leaf litter. Students dig a hole that they can fit the tin into, make sure there are no sharp edges on the tin.

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A2-2 Food Webs Overview This activity involves role playing some of the living organisms and people that contribute to our local web of life. Some of these includes the more common critters such as insects, spiders, annelids (segmented animals such as worms), centipedes, caterpillars, butterflies, frogs, birds, bats, reptiles and plants such as grasses, shrubs and trees etc... and people. In certain situations, there could be additional common critters or creatures such as possums etc. See what occurs when part/s of our web of life are removed?

Materials •

should stay aside and start describing scenarios such as; if the tree was to be removed (i.e. the tree person ducks down) just look at the amount of loose ends that are created. What and who has been affected? Discuss this. Everybody can reattach or continue without reattaching, and describe another scenario such as the use of chemicals to kill insects. Let the students suggest just what effect this would cause. Here again, it is important to point out the positive or negative effect that people can have on “Our Food Web”. As a class, disscuss the topic “How do people interfere with the schoolyard food web?”. There are a varetiy of fun outdoor games in: “Outdoor Environmental Games” by the Gould League of Victoria that fit the food web theme.

Coloured wool or string

Instructions Choose a taller person to be the sun, this could the teacher. Select several of each type of living beings starting with micro organisms, different insects, spiders, frogs, reptiles, birds, caterpillars etc... and don’t forget, at least one person. The arrangement should look like a spider’s web with everybody standing and with no loose ends. Another adult


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A2-3 Adaptations

of the reptiles using their special adaptations.


Adapted from: PeeKdesigns (2008) Fraser Coast Bats Education Kit, Fraser Coast Regional Council

This activity introduces students to the term ‘adaptation’ and how different animals have different adaptations for survival.

Materials •

W2-2 Adaptations (p 37)

Instructions Introduce the term ‘adaptation’ to the class. ‘a physical or behavioral trait that helps a plant or animal survive in its habitat’ You might like to undetake this activity in conjunction with A2-4 and W2-3. This worksheet helps students to identify adaptations for different foods eaten by bat species. Using W2-2, as a class read through the worksheet and answer the questions provided. Students can use this worksheet as an introuduction to a research study on the adaptations of different species. Look at the different adaptations of 5 different species of the same type of reptile (lizards or snakes). Ask students to see if they could behave like one

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A2-4 Feeding Relationships Overview These activities introduce students to individuals within the bat species and their different adaptations for feeding. It also introduces the concept of a food chain and the consequences for breaking the food chain. Students need to have a basic awareness of predator-prey relationships to undertake this activity. It is recommended that A2-3 be completed prior to A2-4 as it introduces new terminology used in this activity.

Materials •

W2-3 Everyone is Different (p 38)

W2-4 Food Chains (p 39)


of bats – micro and macro. Within these two groups are many species, or individuals. Highlight – just like we have boys and girls in the class, you are all individuals with different tastes. Student Task: Your task is to find out just how different everyone is. Think of your own family. Ask different members of your family what they like and don’t like to eat. Put it in a table and present back to the class what you found out. Activity 2 – Food Chains Using the Micro and Macro bat food chain examples, this activity introduces the term “food chain” and the interconnectedness of ecosystems. Draw an example of a food chain on the board and discuss with the class what would happen if you were to take the bats out of the food chain – what would happen to the other links in the chain? Adapted from: PeeKdesigns (2008) Fraser Coast Bats Education Kit, Fraser Coast Regional Council

Activity 1 - Everyone is different Brainstorm on the board 3 foods from each student that they like to eat – and place their name next to it. Highlight that everyone likes different foods, and that some people like the same food. This is the same in the natural world with bats. Use the worksheet to help this part of the activity. There are 2 main groups


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A2-5 Observing nature

Discuss the types of lizards and birds that they already know live in and around the school.


Ask students to fill in the observation chart as they go (W2-5). You may like to have multiple copies for students. The results of this activity can be used to decide on where to put bird nest boxes or lizard lounges.

Two of the easiest animals to observe within the school yard are birds and lizards. Just by sitting quietly it is amazing how many different types of birds and lizards pass by in a short amount of time. Students learn how to quietly observe nature and record their findings. An extension activity included is to build a lizard lounge for a school garden.

Materials •

Note pad



Field guide to birds/lizards


W2-5 Bird Observations (p 40)

W2-6 Lizard Lounge (p 41)

Instructions Supply the students with field guides, binoculars, pencils, and notepads. Discuss with students how to identify and use the guide books.

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

When bird watching, take note of the colours, shape of the beak, type of legs and feet. Use a field guide to identify the bird species quickly. After the students have used these a few times they will become quite adept at finding a bird within a short space of time. Take photos of the birds if possible. These can then be put on the observation chart in the classroom as a record of what species of bird has been in the school. You could then add to the chart with more sightings of the same bird using time and date to plot when it appears.

Extension Activity The same observation skills can be used for lizards. After observing the lizards you might like to make a lizard lounge to encourage even more lizards into your area. Use W2-6 to help you create your lizard lounge.

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A2-6 Nest building



Allocate an area of the playground/ paddock. Advise students that they may use whatever materials they find in their area to construct a nest.

This activity shows students how building a nest relates to the ‘web of life’. It is a good opportunity for students to see how birds have to adapt to their changing habitats. To do this you might like to compare what materials birds would have used before Europeans came and what they would have used 100 years ago, and what they use now. This is a fun activity for students to appreciate the skills that birds need to build a nest. Prior to the activity discuss the physical attributes of humans and birds. Surely it would be easier for a human to build a nest simply because we have hands, all birds have are feet and beaks.

Once the groups are finished have students show each other what they have made and discuss how they have made them. Talk about the difficulties the students had in completing the task. •

How do the nests differ from each other?

What materials did they use?

What if those materials weren’t available, what could the birds use to compensate?

How hard was it to make?

Materials •

abandoned/old bird nests




leaves etc...

W2-7 Bird Nests (p 47)


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lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

W2-1 Biodiversity Study Your Task You are about to conduct a scientific investigation into the invertebrate biodiversity in your school. Before conducting an investigation, a scientist will always predict what they may find. Can you predict what you will find? ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________

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How will you test your predictions? ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ What might affect the results of your investigation? ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________

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Record your information below – draw the invertebrate, name it if you can and record the number of each species found. Number of Invertebrates found in leaf litter invertebrates pitfall found in leaf litter pitfall

What do your results tell you? ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ Can you explain the trends in your results? ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________


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Number of Invertebrates found in lawn pitfall invertebrates found in lawn pitfall

Was the outcome different from your prediction? ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ Explain how you could improve this experiment? ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________

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W2-2 Adaptations Reptiles have a natural advantage over other animals living in the desert environment. Reptiles have thick skin that minimizes water loss.

Before hibernating, a reptile eats a lot of food, which forms a layer of fat in its body. The fat serves as food during hibernation.

Reptiles are cold-blooded - that is, their body temperature stays about the same as the temperature of their surroundings. To stay alive, these animals must avoid extremely high or low temperatures.


Many species of reptiles that live in hot climates are active mainly at night. Reptiles that are active during the day keep moving from sunny places to shady spots. Some lizards have longer legs, so they absorb less surface heat while running. Some reptiles undergo a hibernationlike phase called estivation, in which they become doramant during the hot, dry span of the summer. They go to deep cool places and live using their stored fat. In autumn, when the weather begins to cool, reptiles lose their body heat. During the day, they will climb up on rocks that have been heated by the sun in order to raise their body temperature. Reptiles in regions that have harsh winters hibernate during the winter. They burrow into the ground or slip into a crack between two rocks and stay there until the weather warms up.

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Answer the following questions... Reptiles are ___________ blooded. What does this mean? ________________________________ ________________________________ What is aestivation? ________________________________ ________________________________ Name two other animals in the world that hibernate. ________________________________ ________________________________ Research different adaptations for other animals and record how they are different from reptiles. They may live in cold climates, in total darkness, have no legs etc...

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W2-3 Everyone is Different There are two main families of bat in the world - the Micro-bat and the Mega-bat. Each have evolved differently to eat different foods. Not only are they different from each other, but the species within these families are also different.


Insectivorous Bats

Food Insects

Large ears to hear small insects.


Small bodies and wings for quick and agile flight.

Frog-eating Bat

Small sharp teeth to rip apart large insects. Large feet and claws with a strong membrane between the legs.



Vampire Bat


(Micro-bat) Source: PeeKdesigns (2008) Fraser Coast Bats Education Kit, Fraser Coast Regional Council


Fish-eating Bat (Micro-bat)

Common Blossom Bat

Small fish and Crustaceans

Walk on the ground to stealthily approach prey (often sleeping livestock) Large ears help to detect ripples on the water surface.

Blossom nectar

Extremely long feet and large toes allow the bat to grab small fish near the water surface. Hover like Hummingbirds as they lick nectar.

Fruit and nectar

They have a long, narrow face and a very long, thin tongue with brush-like tip which helps them collect nectar and pollen from flowers. Large eyes and good sense of smell to find food.

(Mega-bat) Flying foxes

Able to locate frogs by their call - they can even tell who is bite sized and who is poisonous. Saliva contains an anti-coagulant that prevents the blood from clotting.


Large wings to travel large distances. Thumb and second finger have claws to help them move around in and on trees. Tiny scrapers on the bat’s tongue help remove fruit pulp from its skin. Mouth opening is small, the pulp and juice do not dribble out.

Your Task Your task is to find out just how different everyone is. Think of your own family. Ask different members of your family what they like and don’t like to eat. Record in a table (like the one above) and present back to the class what you found out.


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W2-4 Food Chains Below are 2 examples of a food chain for a Mega-bat and a Micro-bat. Notice how they each involve a PRODUCER, PRIMARY CONSUMER and SECONDARY CONSUMER. Use the space provided to create your own food chain.








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Primary Consumer


Source: PeeKdesigns (2008) Fraser Coast Bats Education Kit, Fraser Coast Regional Council


Secondary Consumer

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W2-5 Bird Observations I think my bird is a

What was my bird doing? 



Location ....................................................

warbling or calling

Date .............................. Time .................

other ................................................

Weather .....................................................

What colours are my bird?

How many did I see? ...............................


Where did I see my bird?







other ...............................................

What did my bird sound like? ..................................................................... .....................................................................

Draw your bird in the space provided.


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W2-6 Lizard Lounge You are given the taks of building a Lizard Lounge. To start you will need to find out what it is like to be a lizard - here are some clues to help: Small skinks eat tiny insects. Lizards like a wide selection of hiding places and are often found under logs and rocks. They enjoy finding safe sunny spots to lounge in. Have a look in books, magazines and the Internet. You could even act out being a lizard in the classroom or garden. What can you see, how do you feel, how do you move?

The next step is to design and build a 3D model of a ‘Lizard Lounge Display Home’. This will show exactly what can be created in your garden or school playground. You can use materials such as modelling clay, paper machè, cardboard and natural materials such as grass and sticks. Finally, build a real version of your design in the school grounds to create a lizard-friendly school garden. For creating the real lizard lounge, you will need: • gardening tools; • bark, logs, rocks; • native Australian plants; and • mulch (woodchips, leaves, compost).

Activity adapted from Gould League Australia

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W2-7 Bird Nests Your Task

Your Challenge

Birds are very clever animals. They can make a nest using only their beaks and feet. Some nests are complicated, some are easy, some are big and some are tiny.

If you only had a set of chopsticks, like a birds beak, how well would you be able to make your nest? Give it a go!

You have been given the task of making your own bird’s nest. Use natural materials you can find out in the playground to build your nest. Once completed, show the rest of your class and describe how you made your nest.

Answer these questions: 1. How does your nest differ from those of other classmates?

2. What materials did you use?

3. How easy/hard was it to make your nest from chopsticks?

4. How do you think birds have become such experts at building nests?


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lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

section 3: worms Worm farming is a composting process known as ‘cold composting’. It is an alternative to hot composting garden waste, fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen. Worm farms are ideal for people living in flats or houses with small backyards. They are a great introduction for students into the world of composting and sustainable living. The worm castings produced are one of nature’s best composts and fertilisers. The nutrients from worm castings are organic, odourless and more readily available to plants than the chemical fertilisers that leach through the soil. As nature’s recyclers, certain species of worms can be used to process large amounts of organic waste. Students will investigate the specific species of worms required, the best environment for them to work in, the value of the byproducts produced, and the options of utilising worms in their school’s recycling program.

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All About Worms Worm Anatomy

Lifecycle of a Worm

A worm’s body is made up of many segments called ‘annuli’. The length of a worm’s body has muscles which contract and relax enabling the worm to move along a surface.

Composting worms live for approximately 2 years.

Worms have got five hearts and no lungs, so they do not breathe like a human being or like many other animals. Instead, they absorb the air through tiny pores in the skin and it goes straight into their bloodstream. A worm’s skin must stay wet so the absorbing can take place, that is why they have a constant slimy look. If they have too much water, they can drown. Worms also have no eyes, ears or nose so they cannot see, hear or smell. Worms do however, have lightdetecting cells on their bodies that can detect harmful light conditions. A worm is also very sensitive to movement and can sense rain approaching and other creatures who might be a danger to them.

The type of worms used for composting are Tiger, Blue and Red. It is said that the combination of the three types work best. They are sensitive to light, hence the need for the deep bedding. Tiger and Blues are hermaphrodites (herm-aff-ro-dytes), which mean they have both male and female reproductive organs. Reds are not hermaphrodites and require a mate for reproduction. The worms will reduce in size if there is not enough food – not an ideal situation.

There is a common myth that if you cut a worm in half, the two halves will grow into worms - making 2 worms out of 1. This is very untrue. It is true that if a worm loses part of its body it will survive, but if you cut a worm into 2 pieces, one half will surely die. The half with the saddle (the fatter, pink part) will burrow itself into the soil and survive.


section 3: worms

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Happy Worms Make Great Compost Moisture Keep the worm’s home moist but not wet. If their bedding is too wet; •

conditions will become acidic,

fungus will grow,

the worm house will stink and

the worms will leave or die.

pH 7 - Neutral Environment This is provided by the combination of nitrogen and carbon. The nitrogen is provided by food items, and mostly things that are green or fresh. The carbon is provided by paper, straw, dryer leaf litter. You can check your pH using a soil pH test kit.

If your mix is too wet: place dry paper on top and press it down gently. If your mix is too dry: moisten again with some water.

How Many Worms? Worms will eat their own body weight of food each day. 250g = 1000 worms 250g of waste per foam box Weighing your food scraps at the end of the day. If your class produces 1kg of waste then you should make 4 worm houses. Green waste such as fresh leaves or lawn clippings can be supplemented by some students or teachers bringing food scraps from home.

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What is Humus? Humus is topsoil made of brokendown and decaying organic matter like leaves, sticks, grass, insects etc… Microbes from the humus will also aid the worms in their job of composting.

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Worm Food Facts Worms Like Fruit: apples, pears, banana peels, strawberries, peaches and all melons Vegetables: beans, cabbage, celery, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, all greens, corn, corncobs and squash Cereals and grains: oatmeal, pasta, rice, non-sugared breakfast cereals, corn meal, pancakes Miscellaneous: coffee filter paper, tea bags, eggshells, dead flowers Other food/bedding: newspaper (no shiny, coloured or coated paper), cardboard, paperboard, paper egg cartons, brown leaves

Use Caution Breads - can attract red mites Potato skins, onions, garlic, ginger - get consumed slowly and can cause odours Coffee grounds - too many will make the bin acidic

Worms Don’t Like Meat, poultry, fish, dairy - protein attracts rodents Potato chips, candy, oils - worms do not like junk food and these attract ants Oranges, lemons, limes - citrus has a chemical substance (limonene) that is toxic to worms

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Mouldy food If you have fed the worms too much, the food might become mouldy. Remove mouldy food as worms are unlikely to eat it and it makes the system vulnerable to infestations from other microorganisms. Offensive odour

Non-biodegradable materials - plastic, rubber bands, sponges, aluminium foil, glass, and dog or cat faeces.



Uneaten food has become anaerobic. Make sure there is a generous amount of damp newspaper or cardboard placed over the food and stop feeding for a week. Add rock dust or crushed oyster shells. Worms trying to escape Bin may be too wet or too dry. Add more dry bedding if too wet, or moisten bedding if too dry.

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Worm Recipes Worms are nearly pure protein - you can eat them! Here are some “wormy recipes” for you to try (if you feel up to it!).

Worm Burgers • 250 gms cleaned worms (see above) • 1 onion

Remember you must clean them out well first. To do this, take about 1000 live, red worms (250 gms) and wash them carefully.

• 2 slices bread soaked in milk then squeezed dry

Place them in some damp bran in a margarine container and leave them in there for at least 4 days. They will eat the bran and get rid of any dirt inside their bodies.

• salt, pepper.

Separate the worms from the bran and wash again. Drop them into boiling water and drain. Use fresh .

• 2 Tablespoons flour • parsley

Place onion in food processor and chop. Add all other ingredients and process only until just combined (do not mince). Form into balls with wet hands and then flatten. Fry gently in oil or butter until brown on both sides. Serve on a toasted bun with shredded lettuce.

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More Worm Recipes Chocolate Coated Worms

Worm Sandwiches

• Peel of 2 large oranges 3/4 cup sugar

• 8 hot dog buns

• 1 /4 cup water • 185 gms cooking chocolate Carefully peel the oranges and cut the peel into strips. Place peel in pan of water and simmer 5 minutes. Drain. Combine sugar and 1 /4 cup of water . Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Add peel and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and allow peel to dry thoroughly (about 2 hours).

• 1 pack hot dogs • water, to boil hot dogs • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (optional)

Slice hot dogs into long strips lengthwise. Boil strips in water until they curl, and look like worms. Toss hot strips with tomato sauce to make them look even grosser! Serve on buns.

Melt chocolate in double saucepan over simmering water. Place several orange straws in the melted chocolate and remove carefully with a fork, tapping fork gently on side of pan to remove excess. Place choccoated “worms” on greaseproof paper to set. Trick your friends by getting them to eat one!


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lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

Songs and Poems Isn’t Nature Wonderful?

Inch Worm

Once I met this clever lad, A real live smarty-pants, Who knew about the birds and bees And what made tiny ants. I asked him just one question Which I thought clever - rather, “If you know all about the worm, Which is mother? Which is father?”

Inch worm, inch worm Measuring the marigolds Could it be, stop and see How beautiful they are

He said to me “A worm is both: It is both Mum and Dad.” I looked at him and then replied “You’re up the wall me lad!” But later on I read a book And learnt the lad was right. That for a worm there is a term Which is - hermaphrodite!

Ooey Gooey Ooey Gooey was a worm Upon the train track he did squirm Along came a train And ooey, gooey!

Nobody Like Me... Nobody likes me, everybody hates me Think I’ll go and eat worms. Big ones, small ones, Fat one, skinny ones, Worms that squiggle and squirm! Bite their heads off, Suck their guts outs, Throw their skins away. Nobody knows how much I like ‘em Three time a day!

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(Chorus:) Two and two are four Four and four are eight Eight and eight are sixteen Sixteen and sixteen are thirty-two Inchworm, inchworm Measuring the marigolds You and your arithmetic You’ll probably go far (Repeat Chorus) Inchworm, inchworm Measuring the marigolds Seems to me you’d stop and see How beautiful they are

The Apple and the Worm I bit an apple That had a worm. I swallowed the apple, I swallowed the worm. I felt it squiggle, I felt it squirm. I felt it wiggle, I felt it turn. It felt so slippery, slimy, scummy, I felt it land - PLOP - in my tummy! I guess that worm is there to stay Unless . . . I swallow a bird some day!

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A3-1 Worm anatomy Overview These activities involve students learning the anatomy of worms, how they move and react to different conditions. These activities should be conducted in order.

Materials •

Worms (preferably different species)


alcohol solution

slide and microscope (if available)

magnifying glass (5x10)

sheet of glass/perspex

sheet of rough sand paper

sheet of fine sand paper

W3-1 Basic Worm Anatomy (p 58)

W3-2 Worms Up Close (p 59)

Instructions Activity 1 - Basic Worm Anatomy Inform students of some of the facts about worms. Allow each student to have a pair of gloves to have a close inspection of their worms. See if they can identify the head and tail, as well as other parts of the worm.


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On younger worms, the ring is not always distinguishable. Use a magnifying glass for a closer look. Let the students identify different types of worms – Tiger’s have yellowish stripes; Blues have a blueish head and are opal coloured, Reds are red all over. Markings may not be as obvious on young worms. Have students mark these differences using W3-1. Activity 2 - Taking a closer look Carefully drop a worm into a jar of alcohol solution. Take it out of the solution and place it on a slide under the microscope or on white paper under a magnifying glass. Can students see the “saddle” or clittelum on your worm? Can they see any eyes, ears or other organs? Worms have tiny “bristles” called setae. Have students rub their finger and thumb very gently up and down a worm to see if they can feel them. Try looking through a hand lens and see if you can see these setae. If not, use a microscope. Using W3-2 have students draw the way they are arranged on each segment. If there are two different species, the setae may be arranged differently on each.

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Activity 3 - Experiments on worm movement In pairs, students place their worm on a sheet of glass/perspex. Students should closely observe the way it moves (they can lift up the glass/perspex and look at it from underneath). Place the worm on rough and then on smooth sand paper. Observe how it moves, are there differences? Why? Activity 4 - Become the worm Have students pretend that they are a worm and try to crawl on the floor like a worm does by tensing then releasing their muscles. Inform student that they should try not to let their bottom lift up too much ... (they are not a caterpillar!) What are the advantages of a worm having to move like this?

Extension Activity If there is enough class time, you may like to continue your experiments to include the following: Does a worm react to light? Try this with a torch. Does a worm react to sound? Try using a tuning fork, or snap your fingers close to it. How does a worm react to heat? Put a worm in a warm place, but not in the sun, and observe what it tries to do. Students should conduct these activities like an individual scientific experiment: 1. predict the results 2. run the experiment 3. observe what happens

What are some disadvantages? Would you like to be a worm? Why? Why not?

4. record the results 5. develop conclusions about what was happening

Adapted from: Sosnowski, J. & S. (1993) All About Earthworms: A complete kit for Primary students. The Worm Farm, Valla, NSW.

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A3-2 Worm life cycle



Set up each of the 6 ice-cream containers as ‘mini worm farms’ by placing equal amounts of bedding water and food scraps in each. Cover each container with a folded piece of hessian, fitting over the food scraps.

The activity involves the students learning the lifecycle of worms. Understanding their lifecycle and physical requirements ensures they have baby worms growing to replace the adults. The life cycle experiment will take approximately 1 month to complete. Mature worms have a thick collar called the clitellum around their bodies about one-third of the way down from their head. During the mating process, worms secrete a mucous band right around this clitellum. About 12 hours later, the worm slips itself backward through the band and as the worm does so, it closes off both ends of the “band”. It is this band which is the egg capsule. This cocoon, or capsule, may contain up to 20 baby worms.

Materials •

6 x 2 litre ice-cream containers with several holes in the bottom


‘bedding’ materials

lunch scraps for food


hessian bags

W3-3 Life Cycle Experiment (p 61)


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Add different numbers of worms to each container e.g. 1 worm, 2 worms, 10 worms, 50 worms, 100 worms, 500 worms. Mark the number of worms on the outside of the container. Predict what numbers might be found at the end of the experiment. Each container is treated exactly the same way over the course of the experiment. This include feeding and wetting each container the same. Add some dolomite or garden lime every 2 or 3 weeks. After about 1 month, empty each container and count the number of worms in each. What conclusions concerning the reproductive rate and number of worms can be made? Record these on W3-2. See if students can find any worm eggs or capsules. They are about the same size and shape as a match head and are yellow-golden or orange in colour. Gather about 4 or 5 and place them between 2 layers of wet hessian and place in an ice cream container. Do not touch them with your bare hands,

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as the oil on your hands can make them infertile. Students need to look at them at the same time each day and record their findings. This can be done by drawing what they see in an exercise book. After about 2 weeks, the eggs should have hatched. These can be placed back into the compost bin or worm farm. Adapted from: Sosnowski, J. & S. (1993) All About Earthworms: A complete kit for Primary students. The Worm Farm, Valla, NSW.

Students can view the birth of a worm at - noflash/worm/pg000102.html

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

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A3-3 Worm Houses Overview There are many different types of worm houses that you could build. A great idea is to look around your school and see what containers are available before you rush out and spend money. Plastic boxes: Anything from a large lunch box to large storage boxes (wheels are good!) You will need to drill holes in them to drain the liquid away and help them to breathe. Note: these will not be reusable afterwards.

Materials •

20cm plastic pots with prepared holes drilled in the sides

shovel or garden trowel

shredded paper

hessian bag

Instructions Styrofoam Worm House See A3-4 Preparing the Bedding Planted Worm House

Styrofoam boxes: These are a good idea because they are cheap, and good for insulating. They do degrade over time but are easily replaced by going to the local fruit market.

Have a teacher or parent drill some random holes in the sides of some plastic pots. These will allow the worms to get into the pot.

Recycled containers: bathtub, laundry sinks, cattle troughs, kids wading pools, anything that can hold water and can be drained easily.

Find a nice shady and accessible spot in the school garden that is close to the classroom. Dig a hole and place the pot in the ground. Do not fill the pot with soil, but with lunch scraps.

Vermicomposters: •


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This set up is for small scale composting and utilises the worms already in the soil. Cover the top with a thick layer of shreded paper and hold in place with a hessian bag pegged out over the top to stop materials blowing around. This will keep it dark and humid - right conditions for worms to feed.

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A3-4 Preparing the Bedding Overview This is an outdoor activity involving students learning the requirements for the health and breeding conditions of composting worms. It includes preparing their bedding to ensure the above conditions are met.

Materials •

2 Foam Boxes (or alternative worm housing)

pencil or scissors

sand (handful)

humus (spadeful)


leaf litter



W3-4 Layer Cake (p 63)

Instructions If using a foam box, push some holes in the bottom of one of the boxes ONLY. The other box is to catch the liquid, so no holes are required.

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Tear or shred enough of the newspaper to fill ¼ of the box. Torn paper should be no more than 5cm x 5cm. Mix this with 50% leaf litter until there is at least 15-20cm deep in the unit. Students then add a handful sand, and approximately a spade full of humus. Combine and moisten with water, don’t make it too wet. If it becomes wet, let it drain prior to putting worms in. Place worms into the unit; leave the lid off for a few hours if possible. This will force the worms to go deep into the bedding. They will work their way back up. Feed the worms some food scraps, by placing in a pile in the same spot. Don’t mix the food through the bedding. The worms will come to the food. Cover with several sheets of paper (approx 10) or a single layer of cardboard. Leave this on the whole time except for feeding, or removing castings or worms. Repeat the feeding procedure each time they are fed i.e. – place the food in a spot in the box, (different spots each time) don’t mix in, replace cover. This duty can be done every day, or as required, by responsible individual students or the group in charge of the worms. W3-4 (p 63) provides students with a quick revision of how to layer a composting system.

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A3-5 Feeding your worms Overview How to Feed Your Worms Select foods that are suitable for worms including most fruits, vegetables, cereals and grains, and other organic items like cardboard and tea bags. It is best to cut food scraps into small pieces before placing them in the bin. The smaller the pieces the more surface area there is for bacteria to start breaking down the food, making it easier for the worms to consume. Keep shredded black and white newspaper over the food at all times. Newspaper or bedding helps keep the bin dark and moist and discourages fruit flies. Other organic material such as shredded cardboard can also be used. The worms live in these materials and they also eat them. To feed the worms, place the food under the newspaper in a different part of the bin each time. Do not bury the food in the castings. How Much Food? Worms need to adjust to their new home and new foods so do not overfeed them in the first few weeks. In addition to the food you are


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giving them, they’re eating their new bedding. Once they are settled, comfortable and happy they will quickly munch through their food. The bin will require more food as its population grows. You want to feed the worms just ahead of their rate of consumption. Before adding new food, consider: •

Have they had enough time to consume old food?

Is there food remaining because they do not like it?

Has the food not been broken down enough by bacteria for the worms to consume it?

Feeding Schedule Unlike other critters, worms don’t demand to be fed on a schedule. They can be fed once a day, every two or three days, or once a week. You can go on vacation for a month without worrying about them. Just give them a regular amount of food before you leave and place plenty of shredded newspaper, cardboard or paperboard on top of the food. Make sure you leave the bin in an area where the temperature will not get too hot (not over 32ºC) and wet the cover material enough so that it will not dry out. Happy red worms will eat half their weight in food every day. That doesn’t sound like a very large quantity of food because they’re so small, but when

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you get a few thousand worms living in a bin, food disappears rather quickly. Other Additions Because worms have no teeth, they need to take in grit with their food. Pulverized eggshells are an excellent source of grit.

Materials •

W3-5 Worm Weights (p 64)

Instructions There are two fact sheets that have been developed for you and your class. You may like to get students to create their own posters that can be displayed where your worms are located to remind students what can and cannot be fed to the worms. Take your class through W3-5 (p 64). This is an easy maths-based activity that will show students the correct amount of food to feed the worms every day. You may find that after this exercise your class requires more worm houses to get rid of the classroom organic waste.

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W3-1 Basic Worm Anatomy FACT


Worms have five hearts and contain both male and female sex organs (a hermaphrodite)

If you cut a worm in half, the two halves will grow into worms, making 2 worms out of 1.








Colour and Label these three composting worms correctly.

Tiger Worm

Blue Worm

Red Worm


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W3-2 Worms Up Close Carefully drop a worm it into a jar of alcohol solution. Take it out of the solution and place it on a slide under the microscope or on white paper under a magnifying glass.

Try looking through a magnifying glass and see if you can see these setae. If not, use a microscope.

Can you see the “saddle” or clittelum on your worm?

Draw your worm and the setae in the space provided. Do different types of worms have the setae aligned in a different way? How?



Can you see any eyes, ears or other organs? If so, what can you see?

________________________________ ________________________________

________________________________ ________________________________ Worms have tiny “bristles” called setae. Rub their finger and thumb very gently up and down a worm to see if you can feel them. Did you feel the setae? ________________________________ What did they feel like? ________________________________ ________________________________

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Worm movement In pairs, place your worm on a sheet of glass. Closely observe the way it moves. Lift up the glass/perspex and look at it from underneath. Place the worm on rough and then on smooth sand paper. Observe how it moves. How does a worm move on Rough Sand Paper? ________________________________

Become the worm Pretend you are a worm and try to crawl on the floor like a worm does by tensing then releasing your muscles. Try not to let your bottom lift up too much ... (you are not a caterpillar!)


What are the advantages of a worm having to move like this?

How does a worm move on Smooth Sand Paper?


________________________________ ________________________________ What are the differences? ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________

________________________________ What are some disadvantages? ________________________________ ________________________________ Would you like to be a worm? Why or why not? ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________


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W3-3 Life Cycle Experiment Set up 6 mini worm farms in 2 litre ice cream containers. Each will have the same amount of bedding, water and food. Place different number of worms in each container and monitor their growth or decline over one month. Container



Record your prediction before the experiment begins. At the end, record your results and the difference between the prediction and result. What do you think was the reason for the difference?



1 = 1 worm 2 = 2 worms 3 = 10 worms 4 = 50 worms 5 = 100 worms 6 = 200 worms







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Hatching Worm Eggs

Draw an observation diagram of your worm eggs.

Try and find some worm eggs or capsules in your controlled mini worm farms. Worm eggs are about the same size and shape as a match head. They are yellow-golden or orange in colour. Gather about 4 or 5 and place them between 2 layers of wet hessian and place in an ice cream container. Do not touch them with your bare hands, as the oil on your hands can make them infertile.

Draw an observation diagram of your baby worms.

Observe them at the same time each day for about 2 weeks, until they hatch. Record your findings by drawing what you see in an exercise book. After about 2 weeks, the eggs should have hatched. Can you find your baby worms? What do they look like? Your baby worms can be placed back into the compost bin or worm farm. My worms took _________ days to hatch. From _______ eggs I now have _________ baby worms for the compost system.


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W3-4 Layer Cake Label the items from the compost bin using the following words. ____ Leaf Litter / Humus ____ Garden Scraps ____ Grass Clippings ____ Hessian / Cardboard ____ Worms ____ Soil

What type of containers can be used as a composting worm’s home? ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________


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W3-5 Worm Weights You have been given the task of working out how much food your worms will eat. We know that 1000 worms weigh 250 grams. We know that worms eat their weight in food every day. We know that we need to put 1000 worms in each compost box.

Task 1: Other weights Find out what else weighs 250 grams using objects you find in your classroom? Draw and label your items below.

Task 2: Weight calculations Weigh out 250 grams of your class’ lunch scraps and notice the size. Now, weigh all lunch scraps. What is the weight of your class lunch scraps? _____________ grams Using a calculator, find out the lunch scrap percentage of 250 grams compared to the whole class. Type this into the calculator: 250 ÷ _________ x 100 = ________ % (class lunch scrap weight)

How many worm boxes and worms are needed to compost your classroom’s daily lunch scraps? _____________ boxes _____________ worms

Task 3: Class roster Develop a class roster to make sure your worms are fed the right amount of food each day.


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lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

section 4: the garden This unit will give students an opportunity to utilise their composting skills and biodiversity knowledge and apply it in the garden environment. Students select the garden or gardens that they may be able to enhance or create. This could be a vegetable patch, flower, herb, reptile or bird garden, or a shady area for relaxation. When planning a school garden, keep it easy by enhancing an existing garden, or creating a new garden. Utilise your extended school community member/s or some very willing students to help prepare the garden beds. In today’s climate, it is important to ensure that your garden is water wise, or has a reliable source of water nearby. There are many hardy, native plants available in your local nurseries. Local horticulturalists will be able to advise you on appropriate species to plant in your school garden.

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A4-1 Create your garden Overview By undertaking some easy activities, students will develop ownership of their garden. At the same time they will acquire skills and knowledge to make decisions about how their garden is managed. It is suggested to include an area for native animals e.g. lizards, as not all students will be interested in gardening, but willingly contribute to a lizard or frog area etc...

A frog garden with ponds could be created in an area that is not likely to attract snakes and provides a safe environment for all children. Vegetable and herb gardens are easy to create and the results are also very healthy to eat. The vegetables and herbs can be used for tuckshop lunches or surplus can be sold to parents or community members as a fundraising activity.

Materials •



tape measure

These improvements could be in the form of wishing to create a flower garden not only for beauty, but to attract more butterflies, insects or birds e.g. sunflowers for parrots or native seed grasses for finches and other small birds. It is a good opportunity for students to observe which animals already visit the grounds.

W2-6 Lizard Lounge (p 41)

W4-1 Frog Pond (p 76)

W4-2 Garden Design (p 77)

A reptile garden could be created where it isn’t suitable for lusher plants. Reptiles need hollow logs and large rocks for protection and warming up. They require ground cover plants, leaf litter, water receptacle, and native plants local to the area (endemic) to provide flowers and soft to attract insects providing a source of food.

Planning the Garden


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Walk around with students to discuss which gardens they would like to enhance or create. There should be an effort to make use of its existing features and attributes. Select an ‘easy’ garden/s to work with.

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Take into consideration the physical aspects already occurring such as:

Create Your Garden

shade – suitable for frost sensitive plants, frog pond

aspect – northerly sun and westerly shade is best for a vegetable or herb garden, as this helps to keep the temperature down, meaning less water.

Develop a list of required materials to complete the planned new garden. Consider asking for donations of unused items from the community through the school newsletter or by placing signs up on community noticeboards.

Plan the garden beds with minimal water use in mind. This could be by using native plants, mulching, and making use of exsting shade. A damp area could include a frog pond (see W4-1, p 76) and a hotter area could be used for a lizard lounge (see W2-6, p 41) or even a local native succulents garden. Designing the Garden Using maths and art, some students could create a template that has the school and other buildings in place. Students draw in all significant trees, and other ‘non-movable’ items, and then design their garden on what they envisage it could be. All features need to be labeled according to their future use. This design can be used to seek permission from the Principal prior to commencing any works.

Students can utilise the computer to create an advert for the goods required. Using support from the P&C, a working bee could be held to help create some of the garden. Other assistance could be sought from the school grounds keeper. As a class, conduct activities to finish off the garden such as planting, mulching and watering. Encourage students to create a poster or flyer to let other classes know about the garden bed.

Use W4-2 (p 77) to help your students design their garden.

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A4-2 Plant Biology Overview This activity will introduce students to the basic biology of plants, their structure and reproduction. They will gain an understanding of the different parts of a flower, how they are pollinated, and how seeds form, disperse and germinate.

Materials •

flowers that have clearly defined stamens and carpels (e.g. lillies)

large sticky yellow circles of paper

variety of fruits and seeds from different plants

W4-3 Parts of a Flower (p 78)

W4-4 Pollination Match (p 79)

W4-5 How does my seed spread? (p 80)

Instructions Activity 1 - Parts of a Flower Draw a picture of a plant on the board and ask the children to identify the parts of the plant and their functions (i.e. roots, stem, leaves and the flower). Inform students that the flower is to aid the plant in reproduction.


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What is reproduction? Why do plants need to reproduce? In pairs, have students look at their flower and notice the colour, smell and shape. Introduce the role of insects with the reproduction of plants and how they need to be attracted. Students should pull the petals and sepals (lower green petal-like parts of the flower) back (or off) and have a close look at what is left of the flower. There are 2 different parts of the flower left, the female (carpel) and the male (stamen). The Carpel consists of three parts: 1. Stigma (the top part that receives the pollen) 2. Style (the stalk supporting the stigma) 3. Ovary (the round bulb at the base of the style that contains the ovules) The Stamen consists of two parts: 1. Anther (top part of the stamen covered with pollen) 2. Filament (the stalk that supports the anther) Students should notice that the stamen is usually lower that the carpel, this is to prevent the plant reproducing with itself. Why would this be a problem?

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Use W4-3 to help students revise what they have seen. Additionally, students can conduct some observation drawing in their workbooks on a range of plants and flowers, and identify the differences between them (e.g. between a daisy and a bottlebrush).

flower drops onto the stigma of this flower (sticking the pollen onto the other child’s forehead).

Activity 2 - Pollination

What will be formed by the pollen and the egg?

Revise “Parts of a Flower” to identify the male and female organs of a flower. What is pollen? Where is it made? Where does the pollen have to land for a flower to reproduce? How does pollen get from one flower to another? Pollen needs to land on the stigma of another plant of the same species in order to reproduce. Pollen gets spread by birds, insects, pollen-eating mammals and the wind. This is a process called “pollination”. Act out pollination by insects using 1 student as a bee and 6 others as flowers. The ‘flower’ children will have large sticky yellow circles of paper on each of their hands; which are outstretched as stamens. The bee then flies to one flower and looks for nectar. While this is happening, the flower sticks one of its pollen grains onto the bee’s stomach. The bee then flies to another plant, in doing so the pollen from the other

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Where will the pollen go now? What will happen in the ovary?

Explain how the ovary becomes the fruit with the seed inside it once pollination has taken place. All fruits and seeds are different depending on the plant and its adaptations for survival. Repeat this demonstration using different flowers and bees until you think that the class begins to understand the proces of pollination. Use W4-4 to help reinforce this lesson. Activity 3 - Seed Dispersal Revise “pollination” and how seeds are formed. What do you think will happen to the seeds once the fruit has been formed? What would happen if all of the seeds began to grow at the bottom of the parent plant? Explain that if seedlings grow next to larger plants, they have competition for light, water and space and this leads to the seedlings dying as they cannot

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get all of the things that they need to survive. Seeds need to spread around in order to grow. What ways might seeds be able to get away from the parent tree? Bring in some samples of seeds so that the class can look at the different mechanisms plants use to spread their seeds. Seeds can be spread by animals, wind and water. Knowing how your plant disperses its seed will provide you with an indication of how the seeds need to be collected and treated prior to planting. Have a look at some of the fruit that is eaten at recess or lunch. How do these seeds get dispersed? Use the seed dispersal fact sheet to see how animals, wind and water disperse seeds. Use W4-5 and get students to fill in as many of the blanks as possible. You may like to prompt them on different seeds. You could also set up a simple experiment by using a trough of water. Have students drop seeds in the water to see if they float or sink. The ones that float are best suited to dispersal by water or air. Those that sink are more prone to be spread by animals. Activity 4 - Germination

seeds have been dispersed - they begin to grow. What do you think a seed needs to start growing? You will give students the task of designing their own experiment on what is required for seeds to germinate. In pairs or small groups, you will provide stuents with some recycled containers (e.g. reuse yoghurt containers with holes punched in the bottom), propagating soil mix, broad bean seeds and water. Your students will need to decide what light conditions are best suited for germinating seeds, with or without water, hot or cold conditions. As this is a scientific experiment, each variable should be tested. For example, one in the fridge with water and one without water or one on the window sill with water and one without water. Once a week students should record their results in their science books. This experiment could be continued for 1 month to also see how tall those germinated seeds grow. You could view sections of “The Private Life of Plants” DVD to help explain terminology with this activity. Use only at the teacher’s discretion.

Introduce the word ‘germination’ to the class. This is what happens after


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Spreading the Seed Animals Any seed enclosed in a small (less than 10 mm) succulent red or black fruit is likely to be eaten or dispersed by birds or small mammals. Birds can drop the seeds many kilometres from where they ate them. Other animals also disperse seed. For example, you will see plants growing out of horse and cow pats - they are all growing from seed which is surrounded by the best of fertilisers. Some seeds readily attach to any rough surface, whether it is fur or clothing. For example tick-peas and native cobbler’s tacks. This ability can make some species a serious pest, such as Bathurst Burr. In Australia, ants play an important role in the dispersal of our native plants. Many Australian plants, especially the peas and wattles’ have special oil-rich outgrowths from the seed (oleiosomes). This is a free ‘gift’ of food to the ants. They will carry the seed to their nest, eat the oleiosome, and leave the seed undamaged and protected.

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Wind Very small seeds, or small seeds with some type of flotation aid attached, can be dispersed many kilometres by the wind. An obvious example is the dandelion. Most of these seeds will only blow a few metres away but some may be carried for many kilometres as they can be blown into the upper air streams. Other species are still carried by wind, but due to their weight or aerodynamics, only travel metres from the parent plant.

Water Some plants tend to rely only on water for dispersal, while many combine water dispersal with another form. The seed of sedges (which grow in damp areas) are dispersed downstream by water and by mud stuck to feet of ducks, kangaroos or humans. The fruit of the weed Privet is eaten and spread by birds but because it commonly grows beside creeks, millions of its seeds get washed downstream, aiding its spread across the landscape.


A4-3 Collecting Your Seeds Overview Plants produce seeds for regeneration. Seeds are produced after a plant has been pollinated. Every seed, within its fruit, is potentially a new plant. Seeds have all the energy required for it to germinate and produce the first shoots of stem, seed leaves and the primary roots. After this initial stage, the plant requires extra nutrition that is obtained from the soil and water. Most schools will have a bottlebrush tree. This is a great plant from which to collect seed. They are generally good germinators and they produce thousands of seeds. Drought conditions can affect the viability of many seeds. On the bottlebrush plant where the flower-brush was, the fruit or seed carrier will form. This will now be a brush of fruits/seed carriers. Inside the fruit will be the seeds. The fruit-brush can be collected once they are brown. Picking them when they are too green or unripe will not provide viable seed. The newest fruits will be closest to the tip of the branches. Any fruits closer to the main trunk will be from previous years and their viability could be doubtful.


section 4: the garden

Place the brush of fruits into a wrapping of paper or paper bag; seal it well as the seeds are very tiny. The seeds will drop from the fruit usually within a week, and they are ready for sowing. If the seeds haven’t commenced dropping out within the week, they may not be ripe enough and it may be worthwhile collecting fruits from another plant or come back to the bottlebrush at a later stage. Experiment with seeds collected from different plant species. Let some of the best vegetables, from your vegetable garden, go to seed and collect from these for next year’s plantings. This reduces the cost of buying vegetable seeds next year.

Materials •

paper bags

bottlebrush trees/shrubs


clean empty jars

plain sticker labels

W4-6 Storing Seed (p 81)

Instructions Observe and discuss which plants have flowered throughout the year. Take the class to a plant that has flowered previously, check if the fruits are brown,

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

if so, take the fruits from the tree. Wrap the fruits in scrap paper (reusing), label and put them aside. Each student can then have ownership of seeds and grow some for school and take some home. The following week, unwrap the fruits carefully to see if the seeds have fallen. Some fruits won’t drop their seeds too readily. Provided the fruits are brown (in most instances) the seeds can be plucked from the casing, e.g. wattle. If storing the seed for a longer period of time, place them in an airtight container/jar and keep in a cool, dark place. Make sure the jar is correctly labelled with: •

plant name

where it was collected

when it was collected

Use W4-6 (p 81) to help guide this part of the process.

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

section 4: the garden


A4-4 Sowing the Seeds

The potting mix can be made from: •

worm castings with the equivalent amount of clean sand,


taken from an existing garden bed, or

Sowing seeds is one of the easiest ways to generate new plants, particularly vegetables. Other plants are best grown by cuttings. Knowing how to prepare a seed bed for sowing can be particularly rewarding when plants such as vegetables are grown for your school or homes.

purchased seed raising mix.

This is a useful exercise that students can learn from and carry throughout their lives.

Once the seeds commence to germinate, they must continue, which means that the trays or pots must not dry out. They must also not be waterlogged as this will cause them to die as well. It is good to place the containers in a tidy-tray and place water in the tray. The soil will absorb the water, and there will be minimal disturbance to the top of the soil and seed. Take care not to leave containers in a bath of water.

Of course, other really useful plants, such as natives, can be grown for: •


flowering to attract birds;

their beauty; and

insect control.

This exercise of sowing different plants encourages a variety of life. Therefore it increases the local biodiversity and creates a healthier environment. Apple and citrus trees can be grown from seeds as a fun exercise. Cut a reused popper, milk or yoghurt container to a depth of approximately 7cm. Fill most of the container with potting/seed raising mix.


section 4: the garden

The seeds should be sown to a depth twice the width of the seed. The seed should be covered with soil or sand and this should be firmed down gently so that the seed has good contact with the soil.

Materials •

potting mix

rinsed used popper, yoghurt containers, or pots


seeds: vegetable, herb, apple, citrus seeds etc...

tidy trays

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

W4-7 Plant Propagation (p 82)

Instructions Gather and prepare the containers carefully using scissors. The containers should be approximately 7cm deep. Poke some drainage holes into the bottoms. Prepare the potting mix and dampen slightly before putting into the containers. Put enough soil in and depress slightly, fill to 2 cms below the top of the container. Sprinkle the seeds over and cover with soil to twice the width of the seed and firm down gently.

On the weekend, the seed trays may need to be taken home to be watered. Students are usually keen to do this duty. Provide enough sown seeds to allow for failures. Once a week students should measure the growth of their seeds for a period of approximately 5 weeks. At the end students should graph the results of their various growth rates and draw conclusions why some seeds grew faster than others. If seeds did not germinate and grow, explain to the students that this could be for a number of reasons including: •

the seed was not viable;

the seed may have required some pre-treatment before planting (Many Australian native seeds need to be treated before they will germinate. This is an adaptation they have developed over thousands of years in response to bushfires and our harsh climates.); and

the seed may have been too wet or too dry.

Water pots, using the mist setting of a spray bottle. Or place containers in tidy-trays and water by pouring water into the tray and allowing the soil to absorb the moisture up to the seed. Place pots in a protected and shady area until they germinate. Put students on a roster to water every day and twice a day in hot weather. The seeds are not to be too dry or too wet.

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

section 4: the garden


W4-1 Frog Pond

Reed-type water plant

Rocks that overhang the pot edge and water

Creeping water-loving plants that overhang into the water

Ground Surface

Ceramic waterproofed pot buried into garden bed

You can build this small and simple frog pond in your school or at home. You will need: • Ceramic waterproofed pot (make sure it doesn’t leak) • Rocks • Water plants • Soil and Gravel • Shovel


section 4: the garden

Soil and/or gravel

Find a nice shady, damp spot in the garden and dig a hole to the size of your pot. Plant your water plant in some soil and cover the soil with a layer of gravel to keep the plant secure. Slowly fill the pot with water. Place some rocks around the pond and place some other creeping plants nearby. This helps your frog to get in and out of the water as well as disguise the water surface.

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

W4-2 Garden Design

Draw your garden design in the grid squares above. Include a North Arrow, Key/ Legend for features (this can be on a separate piece of paper) and label items (e.g. buildings, paths, fences, worm houses, frog ponds) correctly. The more you include in your design, the better prepared you are to start working on your garden. 1 square = 1 metre x 1 metre

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

section 4: the garden


W4-3 Parts of a Flower



C. D.






Correctly identify the above flower parts: A. ____________________________

F. ____________________________

B. ____________________________

G. ____________________________

C. ____________________________

H. ____________________________

D. ____________________________



E. ____________________________


section 4: the garden

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

W4-4 Pollination Match Fill in the missing words. Words may be used more than once. Pollination is when a ____________ grain is carried from one plant to another. The pollen is made in the ___________, which is a male part of the plant. ____________ are attracted to the flowers because of their bright ____________ and strong smell. The bee lands on the flower and picks up the pollen from the _____________. The bee then flies to another plant and leaves the pollen on the ______________ of the plant. The stigma is a ___________ part of the flower. The pollen grain then goes down the style to fertilise an ____________ in the _____________. The fertilised ____________ can then grow into a ____________ and the ovary can turn into the ______________.












lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

section 4: the garden


W4-5 How does my seed spread? List as many plant seeds as you can and identify how they spread their seeds. Plant Name

Draw a picture of your seed

Tick the preferred method(s) Animal Wind Water

for example: apple


section 4: the garden

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

W4-6 Storing Seeds After you have collected your seeds from the school or home garden, you need to look after them.

Step 1: Clean your seeds Make sure your seeds are clean from residual fruit pulp and insects.

Step 2: Dry your seeds If your cleaned seeds are still moist, place them on paper towel and leave to dry for 2-3 days.

My seeds are from a...

Step 3: Package your seeds Keep seeds in a labeled (use the template below) container or envelope in a cool, dry place where they are protected from insects. To help absorb moisture, place a small, cloth bag filled with dry, powdered milk beneath the seed packets in the bottom of the jar. Use about 1/2 cup of dry milk from a recently opened packet.

My plant looks like...

______________________________ I collected my seeds from... ______________________________ ______________________________ I collected my seeds on... ________ / ________ / ________

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

section 4: the garden


W4-7 Plant Propagation Predict what you think will happen to each of your seeds. .............................................................. .............................................................. Once you have planted your seeds with direction from your teacher, you will need to observe and record what happens. Use the following table to do this. Seed

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Once completed, graph your results and compare to the rest of the class. What have you found out from this process, what seeds grew faster and why do you think this happened? .............................................................. .............................................................. ..............................................................


section 4: the garden

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

section 5: community Worm composting is fun and cheap. Ideally everybody should be composting everything organic. Support from parents, friends and the wider community is a key to the Lunch Munchers program. Students can help by telling others about worms and what they are doing at schools. Teachers and Principals can help by enouraging a whole of school approach to Lunch Munches and other related environmental programs. This section provides some ideas on how to get your Lunch Munchers program out into the community.

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

section 5: community


A5-1 Tell everyone about worms Overview

Art link: Whatever media & technique is suited to your class and art unit. ICT link: You may choose to create this in Publisher, Word, Paint, or any other desktop publishing software

Students use their knowledge of worms and the environment to tell their parents and the community about worms in creative ways.

Postcard sample:



Scrap paper & pencils for drafting and whatever materials you need for your selected media and genre.


Worms! What: can use composting worms When: all year round Where: at home Why: to take responsibility of dealing with waste. Visit class ____ to see our worm composting systems.

Students can work in groups, identifying what information is appropriate to their task and drafting the publication. Your selection of genre will dictate how you produce and disseminate your literature. Suggestions include: •






leaflet / postcard

newsletter report

newspaper article


section 5: community

Extension Information orals and demonstrations to classrooms and school assembly. Video advertisements and visual demonstrations for worm composting (perhaps to run on a website).

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

Further Suggestions Interpretive Gardens

Working Bees

If you have created a special garden (like A4-1, p66), or your school has a special relaxation area, it might be a good opportunity to tell others in the school and the community what is there. This can be achieved through the establishment of interpretive signs.

If you are preparing a garden in/ around the school grounds, try and involve the community through a working bee. Working bees are great family activities that can result in a large amount of work completed in a small amount of time. Encourage parents to contribute plants/seedlings, mulch, potting mix etc... Some parents may even be able to help prepare large compost bins.

Students can get involved to develop small signs that tell others what they are looking at, how the project has developed, who has worked on a project etc... Small grants are available from a variety of sources to get these signs printed on metal plaques. If you cannot get funding temporary painted wooden signs also work. To enhance this process you could have an official opening where students take parents on a guided tour. This encourages public speaking and confidence in talking to adults. An opening like this will also attract media attention which can provide more opportunities for students to talk to different audiences.

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

Trash ‘n’ Treasure As your students learn about recycling different materials, you might like to suggest a fund-raiser Trash ’n’ Treasure day. Funds could be raised for new garden equipment, worms, or a field trip to a recycling plant. The wider community can be invited to turn your trash into their treasure. Students can help out by developing fliers that are used to promote the event around town.

section 5: community


Waste Free Challenge

Local Funding

The Waste Free Day conducted as a competition between classes at schools (see A1.6, p 15), could be extended to see how much waste each household produces each day. The prize for the winning family could be donated gift vouchers from local businesses. This is an opportunity to spread the message about waste in the local community.

There are often small grants that are available for community and school based projects. If your project requires significant funding that cannot be raised within the school, this may be an option.

Involve the media to further expand the reach of the challenge. If your class or school found this to be a successful project, you may consider approaching the local council to sponsor a town-wide waste free challenge.

School based projects that have been funded in the past by the Border RiversGwydir Catchment Management Authority include: •

Education program development

Interpretive signage

Bush tucker gardens

Plant propagation site set-up


Revegetation of native bushland

Other avenues for funding can come from:


section 5: community

NSW Environmental Trust

Ian Potter Foundation

Norman Wettenhall Foundation Environmental Grants

Kids CAN Awards

Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Landcare Australia

NSW Teachers Credit Union

Teachers Environment Fund

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

glossary This list of Lunch Muncher terms and definitions can be used for revision and spelling activities. Adaptation - a genetically determined characteristic that enhances the ability of an organism to cope with its environment. Biodiversity - the variety of life on Earth, including the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, their genes and ecosystems of which they are a part. Castings - undigested materials, soil, and bacteria excreted by a worm. Compost - partially decomposed organic plant and animal matter that can be used as a fertiliser. Food Chain - a sequence of organisms, each of which uses the next, lower member of the sequence as a food source. Food Web - the feeding relationships between species in an ecological community.

Nutrients - a substance that promotes growth and healthy biological function. Organic - substances that come from animal or plant sources and always contain carbon. Pollination - process of fertilising flowers and plants by transferring pollen to the stigma of a flower. Propagation - the production of more plants by seeds, cuttings, grafting or other methods. Recycling - the process of converting materials that are no longer useful as designed or intended into a new product. Sustainable - a characteristic of a process or state that can be maintained at a certain level indefinitely.

Germination - the process where growth emerges from a period of dormancy. Hermaphrodite - An hermaphrodite is an organism that posses both male and female genitalia. Humus - a brown or black organic substance consisting of partially or wholly decayed vegetable or animal matter that provides nutrients for plants and increases the ability of soil to retain water.

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009



further resources Colliver, A., Bishop, G. and Caristo, I. (1999) Green Waste Matters: A green and organic waste management guide for schools. Environment Australia, Australia. settlements/publications/waste/ go.html

Sustainability Education - Easy Guides to reduce waste: http://www. EDU_EasyGuides.htm

California Integrated Waste Management Board (2001) Closing the Loop: Exploring Integrated Waste Management and Resource Conservation. California Integrated Waste Management Board, USA. Publications/

Down to Earth Manual: http://www. index.htm

Pagan, T. and Steen, R. (2004) The Worm Guide: A vermicomposting Guide for Teachers. California Integrated Waste Management Board, USA. Schools/Publications/ Simpson, K. and Day, N. (2004) Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, 7th Edition. Penguin Books, Victoria. Swan, G., Shea, G. and Sadlier, R. (2004) A Field Guide to Reptiles of New South Wales, 2nd Edition. New Holland Publishers Australia, New South Wales.

Earth Works - Living with less waste: earthworks/schools.htm

Gould League of Victoria (1985) Outdoor Environmental Games. Gould League of Victoria. PeeKdesigns (2008) Fraser Coast Bats Education Kit, Fraser Coast Regional Council. ~peekdesigns Earthcare Earthshare: Ollie’s World: Northern Inland Regional Waste:

Australian Society for Growing Australian Plants: http://www.asgap. French, Jackie (1992) The wilderness garden : beyond organic gardening. Arid Books, Melbourne.


further resources

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

evaluation form Your feedback on this program is highly valuable in the future support provided to schools by the Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority. Please take the time to fill in this form, and provide as much constructive feedback as possible. Name: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . School: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Email:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Did you feel that the Lunch Munchers program fit in well with your current curriculum?

From your observations, rate how your students felt about the program?




Were you able to use the materials in other classroom activities? 




Did this program satisfy your environmental education requirements? 




Teachers Rate how you felt about the program. 








Did you feel that your students were gaining valuable life-long learning from this program? 




If not, how could we make it better? Did the program leave the school and students with long term benefits? 




Would you recommend this program to other schools?

I think I need professional development to learn more about composting and recycling if I were to run this program. 






Any other comments?

Please send back to the Border Rivers-Gwydir CMA addressed to the Education Officer Fax: 02 6728 8098 Email: Post: PO Box 411 Inverell NSW 2360

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

evaluation form


worksheet answers section 1: 5 R’s

section 4: the garden

W1-3 The Nutrient Cycle (p 25)

W4-3 Parts of a Flower (p 78)

Producers → Primary Consumers → Secondary Consumers → Decomposers → Soil → Producers

section 2: biodiversity W2-2 Adaptations (p 37) 1. Reptiles are cold blooded. 2. Their body temperature stays about the same as the temperature of their surroundings. 3. Estivation is when reptiles become dormant during the hot, dry span of summer. 4. Mammal (Bears and Bats), Insects (Ladybirds and Wasps), Amphibians (Frogs), Reptiles (Snakes & Turtles)

A = Sepal B = Filament C = Anther D = Stamen E = Petal F = Stigma G = Style H = Ovary I = Carpel

W4-4 Pollination Match (p 79) Words appear in order: pollen, anther, insects, petals, stamen, stigma, female, ovule, ovary, ovule, seed, fruit.

section 3: worms W3-2 Layer Cake (p 63) A = Hessian/Cardboard B = Garden Scraps C = Leaf Litter / Humus D = Soil E = Worms F = Grass Clipping Containers = Store bought worm containers, worm swag, polystyrene boxes, buckets with holes


worksheet answers

lunch munchers BORDER RIVERS-GWYDIR CMA, 2009

Back Cover Photos: Yetman Public School - Alex Francis (top); Yetman Public School - Angus Tully, Ainsley Jackson and Claudia Dight (middle); North Star Public School - James McColl and Tammy Small (bottom). Photos taken by Kelly McCulloch.

Lunch Munchers is a collection of activities and lesson ideas for upper primary schools on the natural environment, worm composting and recycling.

The name Lunch Munchers refers to the programs’ focus on producing minimal waste in the school ground and using organic and sustainable materials and practices.

This education kit has been designed for use as a whole program, or separated as individual lessons; and the blackline masters format allows for easy use in the classroom.

15 Vivian Street | PO Box 411 Inverell NSW 2360 t: 02 6728 8020 • f: 02 6728 8098 66 - 68 Frome Street Moree NSW 2400 t: 02 6757 2550 • f: 02 6757 2568

Lunch Munchers Education Kit