Building a Worm Farm and Learning about Worms:
One rainy day, my curious class watched the worms on the sidewalk around our school. Millions of questions started to flow through their brains. Why were they there? What are they doing? Are they safe? Can we touch them? Take them home?
The questions were many and I could see that the lesson I planned were out the window. On went the rain boots and rain coats as I gave each child a cup.’Operation Worm’ was in full tilt. I lined up my class for a unplanned field trip around the school to collect all the worms we could. (What we would do with them was still unplanned. But, the kids were excited to save their new found friends!)
I gave them simple instructions: about what is expected and what they must do.
- Stay on the sidewalk
- Stay behind me and in front of my co-teacher
- Walk slow and low; some worms are hard to find ( We call this ‘creeping’)
- Look where you are putting your feet and watch for your friends
- Worms are living creatures and should be treated with soft touches and kind words
- If you do not want to touch the worms you don’t have to
- Please do not take worms from friends
- Place worms in your cup and watch them (Some might want out)
Please remember that these are the instructions for my kids and my not apply for yours. Add, subtract, and make it fit with your classroom rules and expectations.
Off we went! One by one each child gathered worms with “yuck” and “cool”. Some could not bring themselves to touch a worm and other were trying to sneak them into pockets! ( Watch out for this… makes for a gross experience at the end of the day.)
After gathering all the worms we could find (About 100 worms). We took them inside to plan step 2 of ‘Operation Worm’. I had all the kids add their worm collection into a large plastic bin and wash their hands. After washing hands, we sat down as a class and talked about the worms.
I asked, “What should we do now? What do the worms need?
The kids noticed that the worms needed a home to wait out the rain. They had not decided to keep the worms as class pets yet. I asked, “What kind of home the worms lived in?” The kids knew that they lived in dirt. So off to the garden we went. We scooped large amounts of dry and wet dirt into a unused aquarium . We added our worms to the top and waited for them to make our classroom their home. Slowly, the worms inched their way down into the soil.
While watching the worms in their new home. We discussed what other things worms need to live. The kids came up with food, water, and games. But what food do worms eat? How much water do they need? And what games will they play? We didn’t know. This is the start of a long journey to learning about worms.
Learning about Worms:
Helpful Video about making a worm farm including what worms like to eat, what type of bedding to add, and how to make your worm farm into composting.
After reading some books and asking parents, friends, and family;
we decided to try a few options of food for our worms.
- Construction Paper
- Scraps of oranges, pears, carrots, and lettuce
The grass lead us to making a ‘better’ home for our worms. The kids often brought in handfuls of dried dead grass for the worms to eat. Until, one little girl suggested making a roof of living grass. She told us that the worms outside have a roof of grass and that it would be nice if we gave our worms some grass to play in.
We went for it! As a class we picked the perfect grass roof and dug up the grass, roots and all! We then planted the grass on half of the worm tank. (We didn’t want to cover the whole thing after a long debate if they could still breathe.)
Books about Worms:
After finding all the worms; I knew that my lesson plans were going to change. I stopped by the library and found all the books I could grab about worms. Here are some of the books I used to continue learning about worms with my kids.
Describes the physical characteristics, life cycle, and behavior of earthworms. Includes anatomy diagram and activity.
Bob and Otto do best-friend kinds of things together–eating leaves, digging, playing–until the day Bob decides to climb a tree, simply because . . . he has to. When the two meet again, Otto is still the same dirt-loving earthworm, but Bob has done the unthinkable: grown wings. Friendship overcomes all else in this sweet and funny story, because no matter what happens, “. . . friends are important.”
Wiggle and Waggle are two wormy best friends. Wiggle and Waggle live in the garden. They like to dig in the dirt. They work hard, but also make time for funpicnics, swimming, and singing!
Crawling through the dirt, worms are hard at work, helping plants to grow. Worms help the fruit and vegetables we eat by loosening the soil and feeding the plants. Read and find out about these wiggling wonders!
Encourages an appreciation for the small creatures of the earth by explaining the vital role that earthworms play in the planet’s ecosystem, with cross-section illustrations of the worm’s underground environment and informative charts.
This is the diary of a worm. This worm lives with his parents, plays with his friends, and even goes to school. But unlike you or me, he never has to take a bath, he gets to eat his homework, and because he doesn’t have legs, he just can’t do the hokey pokey – no matter how hard he tries.
What young child doesn’t love playing in the dirt? And who hasn’t wondered what goes on in the lives of all the creatures who live underground? Celebrated Caldecott Honor medalist Denise Fleming applies her signature bold and bright pulp-paper-collage style to a universal childhood topic in this dynamic, rhythmic book that’s just right for reading aloud—and comes complete with a detailed glossary.
Examines the life cycle of a Nature Upclose: An Earthworm’s Life
Who would want to be friends with a wiggly, slimy worm? You can’t even tell which end is which! But there’s more to these lowly creatures than meets the eye. Kids are invited to find out where worms live, see how they move, and understand why gardeners consider them friends with the help of this humorous and informative look at an unappreciated — and fascinating — creature.
Winnie Finn is crazy about earthworms and knows everything about them. When spring arrives in Quincy County, all she can think about is the county fair coming up. This year, she would like nothing more than to win a prize for her worms so that she might buy a shiny new wagon for transporting them around. Trouble is, there’s no prize at the fair for worms .
Video: Worm Poop
A song about worm poop! What can I say! It’s for the kids… my class just giggled and giggled.
Video: Herman the Worm Children’s Song