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Earthworm Bed

Guess What?

Earthworms are nature's recyclers. They turn waste materials into food for plants.

What to Do

  • Make a worm bed with a metal tray and potting soil.
  • After a rainstorm, collect worms from your schoolyard and place them in your worm bed.
  • Maintain the bed. Be sure it stays somewhat moist.
  • Make observations and record them. Pay special attention to variables like light, temperature, humidity, earthworm length, earthworm weight, and food.

Challenge

  • What would happen if you should place a pencil in front of an earthworm? Would it go around it, climb over it, or dig under it?
  • Do you think earthworms often go toward or away from light? Turn off all the lights in the classroom. Place a flashlight at one end of the worm bed.
  • What foods will earthworms eat?

What's Going On?

Earthworms can eat just about anything: meat, bones, leaves, grass, decaying animals, fruits, stones and even bits of glass. Bits of dirt and small stones help worms to grind up their food. Most of the food that earthworms eat passes through their bodies and is discharged as castings or waste. These castings make the soil rich and healthy.

So What?

We need worms because they aerate the soil and break it up so it's easier for plants to get water and other nutrients from the soil. They also clean up dead organic matter by eating it and turning it into the best plant food. Because of this, earthworms are an interesting link between the biosphere and the geosphere.

Related Links

  • Worms. First graders at Museum Magnet School in St. Paul, Minnesota are wild about Worms. Dont' miss this excellent site!

  • Insect Lore. You can order materials to help you teach or learn more about worms, butterflies, frogs, bats, and more. Or jump directly to the Worm Acres School Kit.

  • Stylesie's Earthworms. Information and ideas for worm enthusiasts, including worm anatomy, effects on the soil, breeding habits and locomotion.


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