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  • In this activity, students set up an experiment to determine the biodegradability of different substances.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • organise a group of items into categories
    • carry out a simple experiment
    • understand that some materials are biodegradable and others aren’t
    • explain what might affect how quickly something degrades
    • make predictions about the biodegradability of materials.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • discussion questions
    • student handout


    Explore the science ideas and concepts around biodegradability and bioindicators.

    Did you know that the rate at which biological material degrades is dependent on conditions such as light, water and temperature and the types or microorganisms present, as well as the type of substance, find out more in Measuring biodegradability.

    Useful link

    Find out more about backyard composting on this website.

      Published 23 June 2008, Updated 23 February 2015 Referencing Hub articles
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