Spaceship Earth: day 5

On the final day of my Spaceship Earth class at Peace Village, Newberg, we spent some time reviewing what we’d learned, discussing what stood out, and then making seed pods. (See Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 if you missed them, and/or download the full Spaceship Earth day camp plan.) Peace Village does a showcase on Friday night at the end of camp, where parents and other family and community members can see what the kids have been experiencing and working on all week. I had the kids look back through their field journals and talk about what stood out to them from each day, then I wrote down what the they said. Later, I made a reader’s theatre that explained what we did each day and what they learned. I asked for volunteers to read that night at the showcase. In hindsight, this was a big ask—to get 3rd-6th graders to read something they’d never read before on stage in front of a bunch of people—but they did great! I’ll copy below what they came up with. I also had a PowerPoint with the results of the compost, recycling, and trash project. Also below you’ll find some audio interviews of Peace Village campers recorded KLYC Yamhill County News Radio.

PV16 day 5
Seed pods drying in the sun

I thought it would be fun for the kids to have something they could take home to plant, and a friend gave me the idea to do seed pods. (Others call them seed bombs, but at Peace Village I figured sending home bombs might not be the best idea!) Basically, you get some clay from the art supply section at a supermarket, and then get some seeds to put inside. I got an package of assorted herbs and one of assorted wildflowers. I mixed them all together, but you could separate them if people wanted to know what they were planting. The people who suggest seed bombs are basically trying to do guerrilla gardening, so they suggest dropping them over the fence in abandoned lots, or planting them in the grassy areas in a median that isn’t very pretty, or other places in need of beautification. We handed out the seed pods at the evening showcase.

Seed Pod Instructions:

  • clay: 2 packages from a craft supply store or section of a supermarket
  • knife to cut up the clay
  • tray to set the seed pods on
  • seeds: I used about 6 packets of flowers and 4 packets of herbs for 45 kids
  • 2 bowls (one for herb seeds and one for flower seeds)

Cut the clay into small cubes, about 3/4 inch per side. Roll into balls.

Kids take a clay ball, make a dent in it with their thumb, and sprinkle in herb or flower seeds, close up the hole, and roll it into a ball again. Set on tray. Once all the pods are finished, set the trays outside in the sun until hard and dry.

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Spaceship Earth Showcase Readers Theatre
(Verbatim remarks from students about what they learned)
7 Readers + Teacher

Teacher: This week we focused on the theme “Spaceship Earth,” a term coined by the Quaker economist Kenneth Boulding. We enjoyed putting on our space suits each day as we imagined our little planet traveling through space.

Reader 1: We learned that Earth is like a spaceship because 1. It zooms around in space, and 2. If we run out of something, like if an animal goes extinct, we can’t get it back.

Reader 2: I learned about the different things that Earth provides and that if we lived on any other planet we’d probably die.

Reader 3: When you go on a spaceship you need to bring food and all you need to survive, like water and oxygen.

Teacher: The other days we learned about the life support systems that keep our “Spaceship Earth” running. On the second day, we learned about food and waste.

PV16 day 5 - 2Reader 4: Earth breaks down things, and they don’t just lie there, or else we would all die.

Reader 5: Almost any kind of food can break down into compost, but plastic can’t, and neither does metal or glass.

Reader 6: And lavender smells really good!

Teacher: On the third day, we learned about the water cycle and pollution.

Reader 7: There are living things everywhere, even in dirty water. We saw them through the microscope.

Reader 1: Water can be an entire city for creatures!

Teacher: On the fourth day, we learned that not only is diversity important in people, it’s important to have biodiversity. We need all the living creatures in order to keep this spaceship running smoothly!

Reader 2: We learned about how bees make honey and I learned that to make a queen they either use eggs or they give a bee royal jelly.

Reader 3: We learned that honey is bee barf!

Teacher: Today we talked about how we participated this week to make sure Spaceship Earth keeps running smoothly by composting and recycling instead of putting everything in the trash.

Reader 4: We are giving peace to the planet by composting.

Reader 5: We are helping plants grow when we get and use compost, and that goes to helping people eat who might not otherwise have food.

Reader 6: On Monday, we had 60% trash, and only 9% recycling and 31% compost.

Reader 7: Everyone helped out, and today we composted 59%, recycled 15%, and only threw 25% away in the trash.

Teacher: Overall this week, we learned to participate in taking care of Spaceship Earth so it can support life into the future. Our totals for the week were 59% compost, 31% trash, and 10% recycling. Here’s a chart that shows our day-to-day progress. This final chart shows how many pounds of waste we created. This is much better than the national average! Most Americans get rid of 4.4 pounds of trash, recycling, and compost per person, per day, and only 1.5 pounds of it is composted or recycled, meaning that 2.9 pounds per person goes into landfills every day. Eventually we’re going to run out of space for landfills on our little spaceship if we don’t all do our part! Here at Peace Village, we got rid of 2.53 pounds per person, per day, and we recycled and composted 1.74 pounds of it per person per day. That’s pretty good! Well done, everyone!

The rest of you can participate in taking care of Spaceship Earth, too. We talked about biodiversity, and how we can help create habitat for pollinators, who help pollinate our food. We had a beekeeper come share with us, and we got to taste his bees’ honey! We want to support those bees, so you can take with you tonight a seed pod we made in class today. There are herb pods and flower pods. Set the pod in your garden or a flowerbed and it will decompose and you’ll eventually have flowers and herbs to enjoy, to help pollinate, to help cycle the air, and to eat. Thanks to everyone who’s participated this week, and who will participate by planting these seeds!


KLYC Yamhill County News Radio

KLYC came to record some of the kids at Peace Village sharing about their experiences. If you want to hear those interviews, listen below. Check out Peace Village interview 3 at about 2:10 to hear a very special Peace Village camper!


PV16 group photo
Peace Village 2016

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