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  • [KAHM-pohst]
    noun or verb

    Compost is a mix of organic material (for example, food scraps and cut grass) that is left to decay and then used as fertilizer. The verb compost means “to turn into compost.”

    When people compost at home, they often put their kitchen scraps and yard waste into a special backyard bin, like the one shown here.

     

  • [kuhn-SURV]
    verb

    To conserve something is to save or protect it—to stop it from being harmed, destroyed, or wasted. You could conserve water, food, wildlife, or your own energy, for example.

     

  • [dee-kuhm-POHZ]
    verb

    To decompose is to break down, rot, or decay. All living things decompose after they die. This time-lapse video shows fruits and vegetables decomposing over a period of three weeks.

     

  • [ED-uh-buhl]
    adjective

    Edible means “OK to eat.” Something that is edible may or may not taste good, but it is safe for you to eat.

  • [FES-tur]
    verb

    To fester is to become more rotten over time. A wound can fester, becoming infected and starting to ooze pus (ew) and smell bad (double ew). Garbage can fester, becoming slimy and smelly. Problems and bad feelings can fester too, becoming more intense over time—like something rotting inside of you.

  • [PIK-uhl]
    noun or verb

    When you hear pickle, you probably picture pickled cucumbers—but almost any fruit or vegetable can be pickled. To pickle a food is to soak it in salt water or vinegar (along with some spices and seasonings). This preserves the food—meaning it makes it last for a long time.

  • [PYOO-trid]
    adjective

    Putrid means “rotting and giving off an awful smell.” It can also mean “extremely horrible or evil.”

  • Now Let’s Practice! 

    In the activities on the following pages, you’ll practice using the words you just learned.

  • photo quiz

    Who just smelled something putrid?

  • photo quiz

    Who just smelled something putrid?

    answer
  • photo quiz

    Which of these does NOT look edible?

  • photo quiz

    Which of these does NOT look edible?

    answer
  • photo quiz

    Your mom has assembled these items in the kitchen. What is she planning to do?

    Decompose some vegetables.
    Compost some vegetables.
    Pickle some vegetables.
    Let some vegetables fester.
  • photo quiz

    Your mom has assembled these items in the kitchen. What is she planning to do?

    answer
    Decompose some vegetables.
    Compost some vegetables.
    Pickle some vegetables.
    Let some vegetables fester.
  • you write the caption

    Watch the video below. Then read the caption. For each pair of green words, choose the word that best completes the sentence.

     

    This man is pickling/composting his food scraps. Inside the bin, the scraps will decompose/fester and turn into rich soil that he can use to fertilize his garden. Processing food that is thrown away in the garbage requires large amounts of energy.

    Composting/Conserving is a way to conserve/decompose energy because it decreases the amount of food that ends up in the garbage.

  • you write the caption

    This man is composting his food scraps. Inside the bin, the scraps will decompose and turn into rich soil that he can use to fertilize his garden. Processing food that is thrown away in the garbage requires large amounts of energy. Composting is a way to conserve energy because it decreases the amount of food that ends up in the garbage.

  • you write the caption

    These are dead fish that have been left to rot. Nice, right?
    Directions: Write a 1-2 sentence caption for this photo using the words fester and putrid.

  • Images

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    Getty (2)