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Main Curriculum Tie:
Background For Teachers:
Earthworms (often called night crawlers or fish worms) are invertebrates (without a backbone). They have no ears, eyes, teeth, or legs, but have a small brain and five hearts. Earthworms can grow new body parts if they get hurt. Many earthworms can regenerate almost half of their body’s length. Earthworms like other living things cannot live without food, water, shelter, and space. Earthworms rely on sensory devices near their mouths and sensory receptors in their skin to detect light and feel vibration. Earthworms have two layers of muscles in each segment the outer one is circular and the inner one is longitudinal. They have four pairs of setae “see-tee” or hairy bristles like legs on each of their segments except the first and last.
Earthworms are hermaphrodites (“her-Ma-fre-daits”), which means they have both male and female reproductive organs. When two earthworms huddle together with their heads pointing in different directions, they fertilize each other’s eggs. The clitellum (saddle) secretes a cocoon to protect their fertilized eggs. Later on, they lay the egg case in the soil and leave it unattended. The hatching time can vary anywhere from one to five months—depending on environmental conditions—but on an average, earthworm eggs hatch within six to eight weeks. Earthworms can eat the equivalent of their own body weight daily.
Observations indicate that earthworms enjoy eating oatmeal, old bread, vegetable scraps, leftovers, shredded newspaper, grass, mulched leaves, ripe fruits, etc. Things they try to avoid include acidic and spicy foods, salt, and vinegar products.
This activity, making a mini-worm habitat, will allow the students
to understand the process of converting organic waste into usable
fertilizer. Students will observe how living and nonliving things
interact with one another.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
Please keep in mind that when making your mini-worm habitat, you should keep it for three to four weeks to give the class enough time to observe the changes that go on. Students will enjoy this opportunity to assist you in measuring with this hands-on activity. You may want to make two identical habitats a control group.
Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., & Cocking, R.R., (Eds.) (1999). How People Learn; mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
The authors explored the methodologies and barriers in motivating young learners to enjoy and participate in classroom science research and learning. They concluded that a standard-based curriculum provides information on what students should learn concluding that teachers make the curriculum accessible to students through their choice of instructional materials, lessons, homework, and types of assessment.
Loucks, S.H., Hewson, P.W., Love, N., & Stiles, K. (Eds.) (1998). Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics. Thousand Oaks, CA; Corwin Press.
In this study the authors identified three components of effective professional development that nurture continuous improvement; context, process, and content. Professional development requires careful planning with the needs of teachers being an integral part of the process.
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