Well, all good things must come to an end. We had our last class on poop this week, and it was great! I had asked the kids to prepare short presentations, basically covering the question "what happens to poop?" Most of them had not done this before, so there was a wide range of responses and effort, but everyone did it, including a girl from a family who was attending for the first time that day - she was inspired and asked if she could say something about the cow manure they spread on their garden! I was so impressed.
Eliza brought in our worm bin and talked about the things she likes about worms, and what a worm bin is, and why a person might get into vermicomposting. She had to remind me at one point that it was her presentation (oops) but I thought it went very well! The kids were really into the worms - I'll have to tuck that away for a one-shot workshop down the road.
Other questions that were covered were: How does a flush toilet work? How does a composting toilet work? How does the water treatment plant work? Where and how is poop used as fuel? As building material? Why do some animals have four stomachs (which I realize is not an accurate question - it should be why do they have four chambers to their stomach)? (I have to insert here - the presenter to this question was very nervous, and yet was one of my favorites, as she presented in the character of a cow. On all fours. Chewing her cud. It was awesome.) One boy talked about reptile poop and brought in a sample as well as his African Plated Lizard, which then spontaneously (copiously, impressively, and odoriferously) pooped all over his shirt.
And then there was my favorite question: Why do some animals eat their poop?* The presenter concocted an edible poop to bring in and share with all of us...a fine, fine finish to a really fun unit.
*Some animals, like rabbits, don't get enough nutrients the first time, so they give it a second go. Others, like koalas, need the microbes they find in their mothers' feces, to populate their gut so they can digest tough things like eucalyptus leaves. Dogs eat their poo as a remnant of their ancestral instinct to eat the scat of their prey, in order to smell more like them. There are a surprising number of animals who do this...