Students observe three different worm models. They will identify what is living and nonliving with the Worm Model Characteristics. After discussing similarities and differences, the students will predict how the three worm models will react when using a flashlight, a heat source (the sun), and water for moisture.
Earthworms are incredibly useful to our environment. Without the aid of earthworms, every living thing that dies would just keep piling up and we would be trying to push through it. Talk about a recycling problem! Earthworms (often called night crawlers or fish worms) are invertebrates (without a backbone). There are around 4,400 species of worms on our Earth and 2,700 different kinds of earthworms. Earthworms are very important animals that aerate the soil and mix the top rotting materials with the ground below. Earthworms like other living things cannot live without food, water, shelter, and space. They eat soil and the organic material in it such as insect parts and bacteria like e-coli and enrich the soil with their worm castings or worm "poop." They can eat their own body weight each day and their castings make humus, "a moist, dark, nutritious material perfect for plants.
Earthworms have no ears, eyes, teeth, or legs, but have a tiny brain and five hearts. Many earthworms can grow new body segments and body parts if they get hurt. Earthworms have muscles and hairy bristles called setae (see tee) that help them move. Earthworms rely on sensory devices near their mouths and sensory receptors in their skin to detect light and feel vibration. Earthworms are hermaphrodites (possess both male and female reproductive organs but it cannot mate with itself). They double their population about every six to eight weeks. Some things that earthworms are found to like are oatmeal, old bread, vegetable scraps, leftovers, shredded newspaper, grass, mulched leaves, ripe fruits, etc. Some things that they try to avoid are: acidic and spicy foods, salt, and vinegar products. Their size ranges from less than an inch to over 22 feet long. The largest earthworms are found in South Africa and Australia.
This activity will allow the students to observe three different worm models. The students will identify what is living and nonliving with the Worm Model Characteristics. After discussing similarities and differences, the students will predict how the three worm models will react when using a flashlight, a heat source (the sun), and water for moisture on the second part of this activity. The students will discuss and conclude their findings on the I Noticed worksheet.
1. Use science process and thinking skills.
2. Manifest science interests and attitudes.
4. Communicate effectively using science language.
1. Develop a positive learning attitude toward mathematics.
5. Connect mathematical ideas within mathematics, to other disciplines, and to everyday experiences.
Invitation to Learn
Provide a plastic worm, a gummy worm, and a live worm, for each student to observe. Students should use a hand lens (magnifying glass) to observe and illustrate (draw) the three different models. Have the students observe the three models and discuss with their partners all the things that are alike and different. Then pass out Activity Worm Model Characteristics and have students complete this worksheet. After giving sufficient time, ask students to turn Activity Worm Model Characteristics over to I Noticed! and have them list any additional characteristics they noticed.
What's different about these worms? Administer equipment, one for each pair of students unless otherwise indicated.
Townsend, J., Bunton, K (2006). "Indicators for Inquiry". Science and Children, Volume 43 (Number 5), page 37.A hands-on approach to the observation of simple objects and patterns facilitate children's ability to report their findings. When combined with inquiry it peaks children's natural curiosity and allows them a wide range of investigative and science-process skills. Teachers can enhance this learning with well-placed guiding questions.
Ketch, A. (2005). "Conversation: the Comprehension Connection". The Reading Teacher, Vol 59 (Number 1), Page 8.Engaging students in classroom conversation is a catalyst to reflective thinking. As they seek to understand the world around them, conversations full of thought-provoking questions becomes the connection between their inquiries and their comprehension.