Rot and Decay

Science Encyclopedia for Kids

LIFE AND DEATH - A Natural Cycle, Make Way, Nature's Recyclers, A Balancing Act, The Food Chain

Look around in a park or a garden. Some plants will be growing. Others will be dying and beginning to decay, or rot. This means they break down into small parts, or decompose. The same process happens to animals. They are born, they grow, and they die and decay. It just is not always as easy to see. Many manufactured (human-made) objects, such as plastic toys, are made of materials that do not ro…

3 minute read

ALL ABOUT GARBAGE - Types of Garbage, Lots of Garbage, What Rots?, To Rot or Not?, Made to Last

A potato chip bag is useful for holding potato chips. Once you eat the chips, you will throw away the bag. The things you throw away are garbage. Most garbage is solid. This includes things such as plastic containers or the remains of a sandwich. Garbage can also be a liquid, such as oil. Sometimes garbage may even be a gas. Garbage left lying around attracts disease-carrying animals such as …

3 minute read

THE DECOMPOSERS - Tidying Up, Tiny Decomposers, Burying Beetles, Bacteria, Fungi

A vulture might feed on a dead zebra. A cockroach might feast on scraps of meat. Animals that eat the flesh of dead animals are called scavengers. Scavengers eat away large parts of the animals body. Then other decomposers get to work. Cockroaches love waste. In the wild, they are important decomposers, eating away at any plant or animal remains they can find. THE SCAVENGER HYENA. The …

3 minute read

FOOD FOR DECOMPOSERS - Woody Home, Dung!, Manure Enriches the Soil, Mold, Keeping Healthy, In a Compost Bin, House Rot

If you see a rotten log in the park, look close. It may be dead, but it may also be teeming with life. Decaying logs or even fallen trees make excellent habitats for mammals, birds, and even fish (if the log or tree falls in the water). As the dead tree breaks into pieces, its nutrients soak back into the soil. This creates healthy soil that will help new trees grow. An army of decomposers wo…

6 minute read

RECYCLE - Dung Power, Why Recycle?, Using Energy, Waste and Need, What's Recycled?, Dangerous Garbage

Nature is busy recycling natural waste. But we need to help out with the garbage people create. First, we need to deal with the material that is thrown away as garbage. Second, we need to cut down on the amount of garbage we create. To stop garbage from swamping our planet, we must reduce, reuse, and recycle. THE 3 Rs. Reduce Use fewer things! Avoid buying products covered in unnecessary…

7 minute read


bacteria (bak TIHR ee uh) — organism made of a single cell, invisible unless seen through a microscope biodegradable (bye oh di GRAY duh buhl) — something that can be broken down and rot chemical (KEM uh kuhl) — substance used in chemistry compost (KOM pohst) — kitchen and garden waste left to decompose decompose (dee kuhm POSE) — when an animal or plant breaks …

1 minute read

FURTHER INFORMATION - Books, Websites to visit

Carbon-Oxygen and Nitrogen Cycles: Respiration, Photosynthesis and Decomposition. Rebecca Harman. Heinemann, 2005. Earth's Garbage Crisis (What if we do nothing?) Christine Dorion. World Almanac Library, 2007. Food Chains And Webs. (Life Processes/2nd Edition). Holly Wallace. Heinemann, 2006. Recycling. Jen Green. Stargazer Books, 2006. K…

less than 1 minute read

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