Building a worm farm

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on March 30, 2013

in Building a worm farm, Science and Nature

A fun way to welcome spring is by studying plants and animals.  Last week, we brought worms into the classroom.  The children examined the slippery, slimy earth worms up close through some sensory exploration and then we created a worm farm…

Building a worm farm by Teach Preschool

We began our morning by reading And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano…

Building a worm farm by Teach Preschool

This is a beautiful book about a little boy who plants some seeds and then eagerly waits for them to grow.  The illustrations are stunning!  After reading the book through once, we went back and looked at the pictures.  We spent quite a bit of time looking at all of the details in this particular picture.  This illustration shows all that is happening underground.  We were particularly interested in the tunnels that all of the animals created.  There were ants, mice, moles, and worms, all burrowing beneath the boy’s garden…

Building a worm farm by Teach Preschool

Next, I brought out a gummy worm.  The children were all worried that it may be a REAL worm!  We talked about the gummy worm and passed it around the room.  We discussed what it looked like, what it felt like, and what it smelled like.  Then, among shrieks of excitement, I brought out the real worm for comparison…

Building a worm farm by Teach Preschool

Unlike the gummy worm, no one wanted to pass the real worm around the room to taste or smell it!  After comparing and contrasting the living and nonliving worm, we took 2 tubs of live worms and released them onto some soil we had set out on trays…

Building a worm farm by Teach Preschool

There were magnifying glasses, rakes, and tweezers for examining the worms.  I deliberately chose tweezers that I knew would be a bit difficult for the children to squeeze.  As I explained to the children, the tweezers were there more as a tool for scooping up the worms, rather than squeezing them…

Building a worm farm by Teach Preschool

You may be wondering if all of the children participated in the worm exploration activity.  Most of them did, but a few did not.  Those that chose to play with the worms really enjoyed themselves, those that were not comfortable were not pressured into giving it a try. We have learned that it is different playing on a table with worms then going outside and exploring worms in their natural environment. Perhaps when the weather gets nice and we can get outside to hunt for worms, all of our students will be more interested in taking a close look…

Building a worm farm by Teach Preschool

After we finished up with our worms and other centers, we went outside to create a new home for our worms.  We weren’t quite ready to release them into the wild just yet.  Instead, we created a worm farm!  We used a large, clear plastic tub for our worm farm…

Building a worm farm by Teach Preschool

The children began creating our worm farm by adding the soil and worms to our container.  They also added dried, crunched up leaves that would serve as food for the worms…

Building a worm farm by Teach Preschool

After a few layers of soil and leaves, the children would take turns using the spray bottle to make sure everything was nice and moist for the worms…

Building a worm farm by Teach Preschool

Once all of the worms were in their new home, we added some plastic wrap around the top.  We poked a few holes in the plastic so the worms would have plenty of air…

Building a worm farm by Teach Preschool

The next day, we took a close look at our new worm habitat.  The children enjoyed trying to find the worms.  As we passed the worm farm around, I pointed out the tunnels that the worms had burrowed in the soil over night.

Building a worm farm by Teach Preschool

One thing that I learned during this process was that worms are nocturnal.  They prefer darkness.  If you would like to see more activity from your worms, wrap your container in black paper.  When you remove the paper, you will see more worms near the outer walls of your container. We will keep our worms for just a few more days to see if we can observe any new activity.  Then we will release them back into the “wild.”  I’m certain those worms will be so relieved…

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Links to grow on:

Exploring life cycles by Teach Preschool

Observing worms by Spell Out Loud

Clubhouse worm diary by Fit Kids Clubhouse

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This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

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