This unit is composed of 5 lessons that aim to teach students the process of vermicomposting in order to practice and encourage the recycling of food waste.
In Lesson 1 students will:
• Brainstorm what they know and what they would like to know about worms.
• Set up a vermicomposting bin.
• Classify those items that can be fed to red worms and those that cannot be fed to red worms and write a poem about it.
• Design a chart with pictures of what to feed and what not to feed red worms.
• Record the weight and type of worm food and where it was placed in the worm composting bin.
• Select questions about red worms that they can research in books, on the computer, through videos, and through personal observations.
In Lesson 2 students will:
• List the ways to humanely observe and handle a red worm, and using the list, they will then write a song or sing a song that is already written.
• Observe a red worm by using a magnifying lens and record their observations.
• Conduct humane experiments to determine whether red worms prefer light or dark.
• Practice measuring on gummy worms and then measure live red worms, chart these measurements, and develop a graph to compare the length of 20 red worms.
• Draw pictures or write stories about red worms.
In Lesson 3 students will:
• Examine the stages of decomposition of the items they buried at the beginning of this unit.
• Design a game to model the water cycle and identify a water cycle in the worm bin.
• Illustrate the stages of growth of a red worm.
• Determine the role red worms play in the nutrient cycle.
• Make a mural of cycles in a well functioning vermicomposting bin.
In Lesson 4 students will:
• Observe, touch, and describe soil.
• Examine and describe worm castings and compare them to soil.
• Discuss the effect worms have on soil and how their actions may benefit other organisms.
• Sing a song about the importance of worms and soil to people.
• Design collages showing ways people use soil.
In Lesson 5 students will:
• Harvest the vermicompost from the worm bin.
• Conduct an experiment to test whether worm compost affects plant growth.
• Read or listen to Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney and Johnny Appleseed by Eva Moore and discuss the special things each character did to improve the environment.
• Make a red worm mascot, puppet, or clay model, and use these to share what they know about red worms and vermicomposting.
• Write poems, songs, and stories or design murals, illustrations, and posters to teach others about the importance of vermicomposting.
A detailed unit plan can be found in the attached web link.
Students are introduced to the basics of vermicomposting and learn about the physical requirements of red worms as they set up a worm bin to demonstrate how food waste and paper can be recycled.
Students learn about red worms through observations and humane experiments.
Students will learn about the role of cycles in nature by observing the stages and results of decomposition.
Students will learn how red worms improve soil and how people depend on the soil enriched by the worms.
Students will learn ways to harvest and use worm compost. They also share information about red worms and vermicomposting with other students.
-vermicomposting container with lid -a plastic milk jug for water -1 or 2 pounds of red worms -4 to 6 cups of garden soil -utility scale -large clean plastic bucket -2 boards or 4 bricks -magnifying lens -gummy worms -a potted plant -2 pieces of sandstone
Source:CalRecycle - Government of California
Resource Type:Lesson Plan
Subject(s):Science, Family/Consumer Studies, Environmental Studies,
Topic:Recycling and Waste Management, Solutions, Sustainable Development,
Level:Intermediate / MiddleSecondary
Grade: 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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