Last Tuesday, the sun was out and our 5th graders spent the day rotating through two different garden tasks: 1) learning about and turning the 3-bin compost pile with our garden intern, Jay and 2) exploring the solar ovens with me. Jay worked with half the class at a time teaching them about the basics of composting and guiding them with turning the pile from bin 1 to bin 2. Students also helped to sift some of the more finished compost into bin 3, which is ready for us to use in the garden. The fruits and vegetables that we have been putting into the garden composter comes from lunch time. Our 4th and 5th graders in student council, led by Ms. Amy Lee (4th grade teacher), have been in charge of the lunch time compost duties. They make sure that only fruits and veggies are composted, and they bring the buckets up to the garden at the end of lunch.
While the other half of the class was waiting to work on the compost station, they explored how solar ovens work. We have several solar oven kits laying around school, and it was a perfect day to give them a test drive. I precut dino kale leaves for the students to make kale chips with in the ovens. It was a simple kale bake without any olive oil or salt since our ovens are made out of cardboard. While students were waiting for the kale to bake, they helped with watering and weeding tasks. The ovens reached about 300 degrees fahrenheit at the warmest part of the day and it took about 20 minutes to make the kale crispy. Students also tested sage leaves and chard leaves in the ovens as well.