I call students to the gathering area. We discuss how the milk container collection is going. We discuss that we need to rinse out and clean these container to ensure that we can grow grass without contaminating it. We discuss that we will be planting grass today. We will fill the milk cartons with soil and plant the grass seed. We will need to water the soil and then cover the containers with plastic film in order to ensure that the seeds can germinate.
Students collect the containers we have collected so far. They work in groups to wash the containers, fill them with potting soil, plant grass seeds, water them, and cover them. I usually have students work in an assembly-line to complete this task. It allows all students to be involved, but is an efficient way to complete the task. We repeat this task for five different days as we collect milk containers each day. Students can rotate through the different tasks each day.
Containers are placed in a sunny spot in the room. Each day, students monitor growth and after clear signs of grass are showing above the soil, the plastic wrap is removed to promote growth.
Growing grass seed is a lengthy process so you want to make sure you have enough time left in the school year to complete this project. You will need 4-6 weeks at least to get the grass long enough to replant. If you live in a place that has cold winters you may want to use a grow light to start the grass growing early in the season to ensure that it is stable enough to plant before the end of the year.
Students can also prepare the stabilizing wall. I ask parents and the community to donate scrap 2X4 boards that we can treat for outdoors and build the retaining wall with those. It is not pretty, but it works.
Students monitor the grass growth and make observations in their science interactive notebooks. Students reflect on the process daily as they prepare the materials we need for the remediation process. These notes and reflections will be used when they present their work to the community council. We hope that in bringing the erosion issues to light and showing how to remediate them will offer our local community council some ways that they can encourage more members of the community to contribute to the remediation process and help mitigate the erosion problems we have.