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Caritas Creek Virtual Retreat Program

Lesson 4

Understanding Equality and Power 

"Whatsoever you do to the least of your brother and sisters, you do unto me."

In this lesson, students join our staff as they explore a decomposing log and look for evidence of how the log is changing. They make possible explanations for what might be causing the log to disappear. Students then learn about common “suspects”—organisms that decompose wood—and the signature evidence they each leave behind. Students use a Disappearing Log Key to identify which organisms might have left behind which evidence, and use this information to make explanations about what has happened to the log since it was a tree. Finally, students learn that the log isn’t really disappearing, it’s turning into the invisible gases that are part of the cycling of matter in all ecosystems. As students explore decomposing logs they learn about redwood ecology on the way. The Virtual Retreat Facilitator will weave messages from Fratelli tutti, Father Richard Rohr, Colossians 1:19–20, Colossians 3:11  and 1 Corinthians 15:28 throughout the lesson and relate back to theme, “Understanding Equality and Power.”




Cycles of Matter and Energy transfer in Ecosystems, Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems


Cause and Effect


Constructing Explanations


Students will... 

  • Explore fallen logs and find evidence for various impacts upon them. 
  • Learn information about log decomposers from Suspect & Evidence cards. 
  • Use a key to identify evidence of different organisms and other impacts on logs. 
  • Use observation and reasoning to make explanations about what has happened to the log, including a possible sequence of events. 
  • Learn about redwood ecology. 
  • Appreciate the value and importance of every little thing.
  • Realize the incredible power that comes with interconnectedness.
  • Increase their awareness of the impacts that humans have on the environment.
  • Realize that, no matter what anyone says, they must make their own choices.
  • Realize the great and unique responsibility that comes with the power of choice.

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