Project Save The Earth: Compost (Physics)
Da Vinci Design High School, El Segundo, California | Designing Teacher: Tina Hannouche

Project Save The Earth is a collaboration between art, math, English, physics, and Spanish, focused around the challenge of saving the planet from environmental catastrophe. The project culminated in a shared exhibition, but each class created its own final products (you can see the project sheet here). This page focuses on Art, where students focused on studying the physics that drives composting.

Final Product: A compost bin commissioned by a client in the local community, designed to fulfill their specific needs.

Key Academic Skills and Content:

  • Developing and Using Models:  Students can use and construct models as helpful tools for representing ideas and explanations. These tools include diagrams, drawings, physical replicas, mathematical representations, analogies, and computer simulations. Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system.
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing solutions: Students can apply scientific ideas, principles, and evidence to provide an explanation to a problem. Students can design, evaluate, and refine a solution to a complex real-world problem, based on scientific knowledge, and sources of evidence. Each proposed solution results from a process of balancing competing criteria of desired functions, technical feasibility, cost, safety, aesthetics, and compliance with legal requirements. The optimal choice depends on how well the proposed solutions meet criteria and constraints.

Suggested Duration: eight weeks

 

 

Created with the support of the California Department of Education California Career Pathways Trust


Final Products: What the Students Made
Final Products: What the Students Made

Students made a compost bin commissioned by a client in the local community, designed to fulfill their specific needs.

Core Practice 1: Care
Core Practice 1: Care

The project launched with a visit from a permaculture expert who taught students how humans can design outdoor space to support and sustain natural ecosystems. The expert introduced the students to composting, and specifically to worm bins.

Core Practice 2: Conceptualize
Core Practice 2: Conceptualize

There was a lot of communication that had to happen between the group and the client regarding the design of the compost bin. Students had to be able to teach the clients about the various types of composting bins and advise them on which one would best suit their needs.

Students began by making research-informed sketches of possible compost bins which they shared with their clients in order to get critique.

Core Practice 3: Create
Core Practice 3: Create

The students were put into roles in their groups to divide the work. The Engineer was in charge of the building of the compost bin. The designer came up with the design including dimensions and materials. The Communicator was the one who regularly talked to the client and the Educator put together the informational guide to give to the client.

- RESOURCES -
Core Practice 4: Critique
Core Practice 4: Critique

The main critique in this project came directly from the students’ clients, who gave them feedback on their work throughout the project, after which students modified their products accordingly.