- Describe how and why they rotate the placement of food in the bin
- Explain why a balance of green and brown inputs is desired
Composting with worms isn’t rocket science, but science is most certainly involved. It all starts with prep and presentation. Worms want small pieces which are easier for them to eat and process. The types of scraps are vitally important as well. “Browns and greens” refer to the type of organic materials that are being composted. “Browns” are typically higher in carbon and lower in moisture which the microbes need for energy. “Greens” are nitrogen or protein heavy with a higher moisture content and allow microbes to grow and multiply. An imbalance either way and the environment is less healthy for worms and good microbes but more favorable for the unwanted guests that lead to a poor production and that funky smelling odor.
Teach the Teacher
- The Complete Guide to Vermicomposting (included w/ Worm Factory 360)
- Browns and Greens: Understanding Carbon and Nitrogen in the Composting Process
- What Can I Put In My Worm Bin?
Tools & Materials
- "Greens and Browns flashcards
- Grid rotation
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson by discussing the concept of balance with the Students. Describe what represents balance and explore the consequences of a worm bin that is out of balance. Then delve into the categorization of inputs as either “green” or “brown” and explain why carbon and nitrogen are essential to plant growth and development.
Activity (20 minutes)
Visit the worm bins with the entire group. Remove the lid and show the Students how to follow the grid pattern for future feedings. Have them observe the progress that the worms are making on the food scraps that have already been introduced into the system. Break down into teams of two for the flashcard exercise. Present each team in rotation with a flashcard and have them identify the fruit, vegetable, or organic material as either “green” or “brown”. First team to get 5 correct answers is the winner!
Discussion (10 minutes)
How do we make a plan to keep our food scraps balanced in terms of Carbon and Nitrogen for the worms’ diet? Where can we source inputs like leaves, food scraps, or shredded newspapers?
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 think we can feed the worms any of the food scraps we have from snack?
- Now that you know that worms need a balance of carbon and nitrogen inputs, how many of you think you can effectively manage the process of feeding the worms?
This lesson, and all other lessons on this website, are intended for use by teachers in the classroom. These lessons are protected by US and International copyright laws. Reproduction or distribution of lesson content, supporting materials, or digital creative is prohibited with written permission from Modern Steader LLC.