Friday, August 12, 2011

Got Worms?!?

This year Gabriel is learning Life Science. Our first thing to study was worms....let me tell you, I was not really looking forward to this! Knowing that I was planning to do this activity with the kids completely gave me the heeby-jeebies! I actually had dreams of finding huge slimy worms all over our apartment in the days leading up to it! YIKES! But knowing that hands on learning is so good for the kids (and all of us really), I put my heeby-jeebies aside and Sunday afternoon we went to the bait and tackle section of our local Wal-Mart and purchased a tub of live worms.

 Gabe, on the other hand, was counting down the days until he could have his own worms living in his room. Notice the slight hesitation in the above photo that then soon became total delight in touching, holding and observing the worms.

For our experiment we used a tall glass jar, black constuction paper, rubber bands, soil and two worms. (We let the other 18 worms that we bought free - though I'm not sure that they made it very long in our heatwave here).

We placed the worms in the jar filled with dirt and put the black paper around the jar since worms like a dark house. We put grass, leaves and some coffee grounds on top of the soil and then left them alone. Every morning we would take off the paper and look at our worms.

You could see the tunnels that they dug - but you had to look pretty hard. The worms were really easy to spot. We found out (much to our surprise) that worms really like coffee grounds! By the second day all of the coffee grounds were gone, while the blades of grass and leaves remained! We also read books and websites about worms and watched one of Gabe's new favorite shows - Wild Kratts! on PBS - that had an episode on earthworms. We learned more than I really care to know about the slimy creatures - they don't have eyes or ears, they breath through their skin and don't drown in water, they recycle and churn the dirt bringing much needed oxygen down to the roots of plants and trees, and in the same amount of land as a baseball field there are millions of worms under the soil. We also learned about the other types of worms (there are three main types: annelids like earthworms, flatworms and roundworms). We will spare you the details on tapeworms....

I will leave with a picture of how I liked to "view" the worms.... 

Wheew - I'm glad that section is over!
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