This outdoor/indoor activity follows
worm and soil exploration and can be completed in one week. Use it after
Exploring Worms and in conjunction with
Worm Worksheet .
Through observation, students learn how
an earthworm processes and aids the loosening and mixing of soil.
Jelly or peanut butter jars with covers or plastic wrap covering the
tops (with air holes).
A variety of moist soil types (detritus, loam, clay, silt, sand, etc.).
If different soils are not available from exploration area, teacher must
supply various soil types obtained from nurseries, garden centers, etc.
Bowls or buckets
Spoons or scoops
Paper along with brown, gray, and black crayons
Materials for sketching and note taking
In their area of worm discovery, students:
- Collect and place differing 1" to 2" moist soil layers and some
leaves in containers. Students may experiment and choose their own
layers, or put the darkest, heaviest soil (loam) on the bottom, and
the lightest soil (sand) on top. Soil may be loose, but layers must
- Draw a picture of the variously colored soil layers before adding
worms. Place one worm in each container, cover with a lid or plastic
wrap (do not forget the air holes!).
- Store containers with worms in a dark, cool place.
- In a day or two, observe the containers. Have the layers of soil
mixed at all? Draw the layers of color again and any color stripes
- In two more days, observe again. What do the layers look like now?
Draw and color their appearances.
- Finally, compare your worm and its soil with other worms in class.
Record what has happened to other soil and other worms.
- Last but not least: After your final observation day and after you
complete the Worm Worksheet , remember
to return the worms to their original habitat.
Record your answers in Computer
- 1. How have worms helped to mix the soil?
- Do you think worms ingest and digest the soil?
- Can you see any clear funnels?
- If the layers were filled with different nutrients and minerals,
would worm activity help plant growth?
- Why are worms good for soil and plants?