A Day in the Life
- Estimate rate of consumption based on observation and basic measurements
- Describe best practices for maximizing consumption
How fast do worms consume waste? That’s what every new vermiculturist wants to know. But the truth is, that answer can be elusive. It is somewhat dependent on the number of worms in your bin, the rate that they consume individually, the size of the scraps, and even the types of food you provide. And of course, let’s not forget that your worms will reproduce at a rate that will potentially double their numbers in just 3 months.
In the end, the rate at which your worms consume waste will be dependent on how much help you give them. Prepare the scraps with your worms in mind and they will do a better job for you. Once you have an established method for preparing the scraps and a uniform serving size, making the observations and calculations to determine the worms’ consumption rate will be much easier.
Teach the Teacher
- The Complete Guide to Vermicomposting (included w/ Worm Factory 360)
Tools & Materials
- Established worm bin
- 1 Cup measuring cup
- Prepared food scraps
- Storage bags
- Best practices
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson with a story about dinner at the family table. Who is the fastest eater? Dad? Your little brother? Grandma! Ask the Students what affects how quickly someone can finish their plate. Does bite size have anything to do with it? What about how hungry you are? Get them to throw out answers to get this lesson rolling.
Activity (20 minutes)
Prepare meals for your worms for the next 3-5 feedings. Have the kids bag up servings based on a consistent measurement like a Cup or maybe 2 Cups. Have them use a measuring cup to pour servings into individual bags that can be sealed and store in the refrigerator until needed.
Review the appropriate size of the chunks and even how you prepare the scraps. Then have them label the bags and put them into storage until needed. Prepare one serving for the worms that can be added immediately. Record the date and then have the Students check each day to mark progress. Once the worms have consumed the majority of the serving, make note of the date and have the Students calculate the number of days it took for the worms to do their job. Have them retrieve one of the stored servings and repeat the process.
Discussion (10 minutes)
How long did it take the worms to consume the single serving? What could be done to speed up the process? Could the scraps be cut even smaller? Did you think they would eat the scraps more quickly than they did or more slowly?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you know how quickly worms can consume a single Cup of food?
- Now that you have calculated the rate at which the worms consume food, how many of you think that will increase as the population of worms increase?
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