Big Fat, Juicy Worms

Why are worms the farmer's best friend? How do worms help seeds sprout and roots develop? As students collect and study worms, they observe and understand how an earthworm processes and aids the loosening and mixing of soil. Passing this information on to their Growing Buddies and e-pals, young scientists continue to update their Computer Journals.

For more about Special #3 from Virtual Urban Gardens e-mail Bill Ganter, author
and AT&T Teacher Disseminator.
Learning Standards
  • Ask appropriate scientific questions, and develop answers to questions through personal
    observation and experimentation.
  • Gather scientific information through observation and experimentation in the field.
  • Communicate the results obtained by experimentation through journal writing and
    cooperative group discussions.
  • Share work with peers and the community through on-line data collection.
  • Classroom Activities
    After Exploring for Worms in the urban orchard or in unpaved school areas, older elementary students examine these favorite compost critters in their natural habitat and indoors. A week long Watching Worms Lab Procedure and a Worm Worksheet allow them to observe how worms distribute

    layers and nutrients throughout the soil.
    To share findings, these mentors invite
    their Growing Buddies to observe the
    experiment and to write about it to e-pals.
    Finally, they return the worms to their homes.
    Community Activities
    When they learn why worm compost provides the richest way to accelerate decomposition, students become advocates of community composting in schools and public institutes that generate large quantities of natural waste.
    A field trip to a suburban farm verifies the importance of compost studies when students discuss worms as decomposers with farmers and horticulturists.
    Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof, 1982: Flower Press; Squirmy Wormy Composts by B. Kalman and J. Schaub, 1992: Crab Tree Publishing Co; materials for Exploring for Worms and Watching Worms Lab Procedure
    Students scan photographs into Computer
    Journals shared with e-pals and also
    research worms on the Internet.
    Teacher marks Worm Worksheet (Button #2) and continues to monitor Computer Journals and e-mail correspondence.

    Web Sites
    Students learn more about worms at
    Making Worm Compost