Today is the official celebration of Earth Day. It is my hopes that all educators have embraced some type of exploration that awakens each student to the wonders of the natural world. During my life science teacher training workshops, teacher participants can be guaranteed that one of the investigations will include explorations with live earthworms. Some of the teachers are reluctant to touch the slimy and wiggly invertebrates. To see a teacher participant overcome their aversion of handling an earthworm, snail, or pillbug brings a great deal of satisfaction to me. Mainly, because I feel confident that the teacher is now more likely to expose their own students to living creatures within their own classroom.
I produced the following video to pay tribute to the earthworm, a common backyard invertebrates. The earthworm’s activities are vital to the plant and animal kingdom. Earthworms are not only consumers, they are decomposers as well. Earthworms benefit the plant and animal kingdom by decomposing organic matter, excreting nutrient rich casts, and their burrowing actions aerate the soil. An earthworm science lesson is a great hands-on science lesson to investigate a multitude of science concepts including: animal classification, interdependence, food chain, population, decomposers, consumers, and producers. As you’ll observe in the video, young children enjoy learning about snails, pill bugs, and earthworms via hands-on explorations. Ideas for earthworm explorations include:
- Comparing and contrasting Gummy Worms to synthetic fishing worms, to live earthworms.
- Exploring the anatomy of live earthworms.
- Measuring earthworms.
- Experimenting with what type surfaces earthworms prefer (dry, wet, rough, smooth, etc.).
- Making earthworms out of Playdoh and clay.
- Make earthworm paintings with fishing worms.
- Drawing earthworms based on observations of live earthworms.
- Make a classroom terrarium to house common backyard invertebrates (snails, pillbugs, and earthworms).
- Make a composte or vermiposte pile.
- Read children’s literature with earthworm themes.