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Decomposition Timeline

This activity looks at the decomposition rate of both natural and man made objects. Students will give their predictions before placing the objects onto a large outdoor timeline.

Teaching Structure:

Draw a 0 - 1000 year timeline on the playground using chalk. Check students understand what decomposition is.

Get students to collect a variety of natural and man made items from your outdoor space (this is also a great way to give your outdoor space a little tidy!). If there is not much rubbish, it’s useful to add the items from the list.

Get students to share what they’ve collected and predict how long it will take each item to decompose. If wanted, they can complete their tables while doing this. Once they’ve made their predictions share the correct decomposition rates, get them to complete their table and place their objects in the correct place on the timeline.

If you’d rather, you can use our item cards instead of the students collecting their own items.

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Nature Addition: Numbers 1 - 25