Worms + Compost Box

Overview

Teachings kids about worms & composting complements lessons on soil science, animal habitat, and environmental studies.  Composting with worms is called vermicomposting. Worms will break down plant materials as they eat it, pass it through their body, and turn it into rich soil for a garden.  This process provides nutrients for other plants, and keeps additional material out of trashcans and landfills.  It saves money on the household purchase of soil for the yard,  creates a natural plant cycle (grow – ripen – decompose – fertilize), and provides nourishment for earthworms.  This activity is hands-on, so it makes an extra impact on participants.

Materials

Plastic box with a lid

Soil to fill the box

Compost items, including fruit + vegetable peels & pits, leaves & sticks

Earth worms

Set Up

Fill the plastic box with soil, compost items, and worms.

Find a place where students can gather around the box and everyone can see & reach.

Teaching Directions

Start by describing the process of composting and its purpose.

Have students gather around the compost box and show them the compost items.  Ask if they can identify the fruit and vegetable peels and pits.

Dig around a bit to find the worms and demonstrate a gentle way to hold them, making sure not to pinch or squeeze them, but let them crawl on your hands.

Allow students to take turns holding the worms and observe how they move.

Extension

Have students make their own compost bins. Start with a clear, empty plastic bottle.  Cut off the top 1/4 of the bottle and fill with soil and mix in compostable items.  Add a few worms.  Ask students to observe the compost materials and how they change over the course of a few weeks to a month.

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