- Describe different types of worms found in soil
- Describe why red wigglers are best for composting
Watching Red Wigglers in action inside the vermiculture bin is often less than amazing. As you remove the lid you see that knee-jerk reaction to the light but then all is still. Composting worms do their work, a magic of sorts, outside the public eye, often in the dark confines of the vermiculture bin.
But not all worms are created equal. Some are great in the garden, digging tunnels that allow oxygen to reach the bottom of root structures. Others work at a slow pace breaking down organic matter. But the Red Wiggler is a rare breed, tearing through food scraps like no other. They are the definitive “best in class” composting worm and a great addition to the team of any Lab.
This lesson explores the different types of composting worms and sheds light on why Red Wigglers are in a class of their own.
Tools & Materials
- Red Wiggler worms
- Magnifying glasses
- Printouts of Inside the Red Worm
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson by reviewing the anatomy of the red wiggler worm with Students. Describe the function of each part of the worm and how food is ingested and digested.
Activity (20 minutes)
Carefully remove as many worms as needed from the Vermiculture Bin so that each student has one worm. Using the magnifying glasses, have the Students examine the worms to identify the individual parts of the external anatomy. Show them the illustration of the external anatomy and name each part individually. Ask them to examine the worm to locate that part. Work through the external anatomy from one end to the other.
Discussion (10 minutes)
How much do you think a single worm can eat in a single day? How about a year? How many would you guess we need to consume all of the organic waste we create in a single year?
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 have examined a worm up close?
- Now that you have examined a Red Wiggler with a magnifying glass, how many of you think you could explain the key parts of a worm’s anatomy to someone else?
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